Weak phone network, confused callers clot blood supply helpline

Jan 09, 2014, 09:42 IST | Swapnal Tilekar

The service, started on January 7 by authorities at Aundh Civil Hospital, to provide blood to people in need of transfusion at their doorstep, has been facing rough weather because of poor mobile connectivity and calls from people uncertain of their requirement

Even the noblest agenda can come unhinged owing to unforeseen hitches. The enterprising helpline (104), started two days ago by authorities at Aundh Civil Hospital, to provide blood to people in need of transfusion at their doorsteps, is in a muddle because of telephone networking problems, and perplexing calls by patients’ families.

Wake-up call: The call centre set up within the premises of Aundh Civil Hospital.

The health initiative ‘Jeevan Amrut Seva’, launched by the government on January 7 to address the requirement of blood of various private as well as governmental hospitals, is aimed to assist patients staying within 40 kilometres of a designated centre.Aundh Civil Hospital being the centre of distribution and operation for this service in Pune, deals with the scheme with the helpof the NGO Bible that has provided three technicians to the hospital to work in morning, evening and night shifts.

Designated couriers carry the blood samples on their two-wheelers along with a cold storage. Pics/Rohan Vanne

Dr Naina Waghmare, BTO of the Aundh Civil Hospital informed that so far, twenty-four private and government medical institutes have registered for availing the service. But, she also expressed concern over the number of calls they have received from people uncertain of their requirement.

Arterial link: Aundh Civil Hospital, being the centre of distribution and operation for the 104 helpline service in Pune, deals with the state’s Jeevan Amrut Seva scheme with the help of the NGO Bible that has provided three technicians to the hospital to work in morning, evening and night shifts. However, authorities are concerned about the number of frivolous calls that the (below) call centre has been receiving. Pics/Rohan Vanne

“It is very important to get your doctor’s approval before calling for blood supply. Otherwise, our staff can be misled, as sometimes families of patients panic and directly call the helpline without consulting their physician. Later, it turns out that the call was unnecessary. Also, people have to consider the fact that this facility is not for emergency situations. Registering the requirement, sending our technicians/staff to the concerned place and then them coming back here with the blood sample and again going back with the necessary blood takes at least an hour or two. Moreover, an official call from a doctor of a hospital listedwith us is certainly better than a call from a patient’s relative.”

In demand
Within two days of its commencement, the call centre has received over 35-40 calls for inquiry, of which three callers were served with the required blood on the first day, and two got it on the second day.

But the major difficulty that the hospital has been facing so far is of mobile network glitches. The call centre, which is situated on the hospital site but in a different building, hasn’t had much trouble receiving calls. But, connectivity with the hospital staff has been problematic. Most areas of the hospital building lack good network on mobiles and, to a certain extent, on BSNL landlines.

104 helpline service in Pune

Call waiting
Dr BN Kakane, additional civil surgeon of the district hospital, said, “We have already sent a letter to BSNL about the problem and they said they have forwarded the matter to their Delhi office. But now, as this critical call centre is functioning from the premises, we need better means of communication to avoid any further delay in our medical support.”

Remote connection
The call centre has so far received calls from emote areas like Nahre (Ambegaon), Katraj and various PCMC (Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation) parts. Authorities in the civil hospital are hoping to get as many medical centres registered to avail this facility as they can to serve the need for blood even in distant locales.

‘We will get better’
District civil surgeon Dr AB Nandapurkar said, “We are really happy to see the response to this newly-opened facility. So far we have been providing whole blood to patients. Now, our primary concern will be to provide blood according to RBC and platelet count. We have set a target of March 2014 to attain this i.e. within 2-3 months from now, and we are working towards this.”

Medical institutes have so far registered with Aundh Civil Hospital to avail the helpline

The helpline number

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