News : '104’ Scheme Yet to Gain Pace
Maduari, June 24, 2014 -- It has been six months since the launch of the health helpline number ‘104’, but the service is yet to gain momentum in the State.
An initiative of Tamil Nadu Health System Project (TNHSP), the service is being run by GVK-Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI).
Callers can get information on the nearest hospital, MRI and CT scan centres and find out the first aid that can be administered to the victim. Issues like absence of doctors in government hospitals, shortage of drugs and poor quality of essential services will also be addressed.
The primary objective of the helpline is to provide the caller with immediate home remedies for most aliments such as vomiting and minor injuries.
Even as the State government boasts of having started a first-of-its-kind scheme where the public can get health advice, information about health care, counselling and grievance redressal, social activists say a scheme can be successful only when the people are benefited by it.
"It is the responsibility of the State government to publicise the scheme through various mediums. Funds must be allocated for this purpose," said C.J. Rajan, State president, Samam Makkal Iyakkam, Madurai.
The ‘104’ call centre functions out of Government Kasturba Gandhi Hospital for Women and Children at Triplicane, Chennai.
A team of doctors has been deployed to man the helpline. The registration officer first takes vital information, and then the calls are transferred according to the requirement of the person, said B. Prabhu Doss, Regional Manager of GVK-EMRI.
According to GVK-EMRI officials, Chennai tops the list of districts that make the highest number of calls.
When contacted, V. Tharani Singh, Deputy Director, TNHSP told The Hindu that steps were being taken to popularise the scheme, adding that the call centre had received 2.32 lakh calls since December last.
From knowing the nearest blood bank, government hospitals, eye donation and blood testing centres, the callers can get all required information through this service. "As it is newly launched, some people call to check the service," he added.
The helpline is available round-the-clock for the public.
"We also have counsellors who handle counsel for psychiatric and psychological problems like depression, inferiority complex and suicidal tendency," Mr. Singh said.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Friday, June 27, 2014
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