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Only 4 per cent Mumbaikars call 108 with genuine emergencies

Authorities at National Rural Health Mission revealed that the recently launched toll-free number has received very few calls for medical emergencies

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).

Out of the 9 lakh calls received from the city in the last three months, only four per cent have been for genuine cases. Representational picOut of the 9 lakh calls received from the city in the last three months, only four per cent have been for genuine cases. Representational pic

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.

Dial 108
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.

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