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Dial 104 for medical SOS

The health department has planned to launch an integrated call centre offering people a host of emergency medical services and a chance to lodge complaints against problems faced in state-run healthcare institutions.

Apart from providing ambulances in emergency, the call centre would provide medical advice, information about communicable and non-communicable diseases, nutrition, sexually transmitted diseases and details of medical centres offering treatment for specific ailments among others.

People would just have to dial 104 to avail of these facilities.

An official of the State Health Society, Bihar, which works under the health department, told The Telegraph: “Last year, the society had sent a proposal to the Union government regarding setting up a grievance redress cell to deal with public grievances related to healthcare institutions but the ministry suggested us to start integrated call centre instead on the lines of the ones in other states. Assam, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan already have integrated call centres. In Bihar, we are taking the challenge of adding ambulance services as well.”

Elaborating the project, he said: “The call centre would be run by a private firm under public-private-partnership (PPP) mode. Tenders for the same have already been floated and a pre-bid meeting was also held few days back.”

Talking about the details, he said: “Call centre operators would note down the people’s grievances following which the nodal officer of the district concerned would be apprised of the grievance and he/she would be asked to take action on that. For medical advice, the call would be transferred to doctors.”

The official said it would be quite easy for people to remember one number to deal with different purposes.

Dr Sunil Kumar Singh, vice-president, Indian Medical Association, said: “It is a very progressive step in modernisation of the state healthcare. It will go help meet people’s needs in the long run. The best part would be that the department would ascertain the shortfalls in its system because of the inclusion of the public grievance redress system.”