News : Healthcare Services Hit as ‘108’ Staff’s Strike Enters Third Day
Visakhapatnam, India, July, 2019 - With the 108 services employees’ strike entering the third day, the healthcare services are hit.
A three-month-old girl who was sick died at Burugu Chetru, an interior village under Paderu police station limits in Visakhapatnam agency in the wee hours of Wednesday as the 108 ambulance allegedly did not arrive.
Unaware of the strike, the parents kept calling the 108 services call centre and waiting for the vehicle to arrive, but in vain.
A few hours later, an RTC bus rammed a lorry on the NH-16 in Kasimkota Mandal and eight people were severely injured.
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With no ambulance services available, the police and highway patrolling teams had to rush the injured to hospital in police vehicles.
Ambulances off the road
Ever since the strike began across the State, road accident victims and patients in need of emergency healthcare services have been left in the lurch.
According to officials, of the 430 108 service ambulances in the State including 41 in Visakhapatnam district have been off the roads. As many as 193 Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), ambulance drivers and other para-medic staff went on strike in the city.
People who have approached the 108 services call centre say that they received the response such as ambulances were engaged and the time when the vehicle would reach the spot could not be confirmed. In many cases, people were forced to hire private hospital ambulances or private vehicles to reach hospitals.
Meanwhile, the striking employees appear adamant on their demands. "The government is yet to respond. We will not withdraw protest until the government gives us some assurance," 108 Ambulance Employees’ Union president (Visakhapatnam) M. Srinivasa Rao said.
The demands of the employees include regularisation of their jobs, reduction of working hours from 12 to eight.
"The employees should be allotted lands for houses. Many bills have been pending since December, 2017. The government must clear the bills and pay monthly salaries regularly," Durga Rao, a union member, said.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About 108 Ambulance Services:
108 is a free telephone number for emergency services in India, currently operational in 17 States ( Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Chattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh) and two Union Territories (Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu.) The 108 Emergency Response Service is a free emergency service providing integrated medical, police and fire emergency services. The service is a public-private partnership between state governments and private EMS providers. 108 was introduced by Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana for the first time in India. 108 is also functional in Punjab Odisha, Maharashtra, Bihar Kerala. Till November 2014 this service handled 5.4 lakh emergency cases in India.
Published: Friday, August 2, 2019
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