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News : Only 4% Mumbaikars Call 108 with Genuine Emergencies
June 11, 2014 -- Three months after Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan launched the toll-free number for residents to call an ambulance at the patient’s doorstep, majority of the calls received on 108 are only to enquire about the 24x7 Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
The project, initiated under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), aims to move the patients to the nearest hospital within the ‘golden hour’ period, ensuring timely treatment in critical condition, in case of an accident or medical emergency.
However, from the time it was launched on March 1, state health authorities revealed that only four per cent of the calls have been for genuine emergency cases.
Speaking to mid-day, K H Govindraj, director of NRHM, said, "We receive around 10,000 calls a day, but majority of these calls are only to enquire about the ambulance services. So far, we have received about 9 lakh calls from Mumbai."
Out of the genuine emergency cases, where an ambulance had to be rushed to the spot, 24 per cent were pregnancy-related cases, followed by road accidents (19 per cent).
Only one per cent of the cases were of cardiac emergencies. Currently, there are 600 ambulances assigned for the initiative and by August, the health department is planning to add another 337, according to the state health secretary, Meeta Lochan.
The call centre, based in Pune, is manned by 40 people who attend to the phone calls round the clock. Earlier, 108 was used by Mumbai residents to report disasters in the city anything from accidents to illegal dumping. The number was assigned for EMS across the country from this year. The Union Government funded nearly Rs 1,000 crore for the ‘Dial 108’ plan.
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: Thursday, June 12, 2014