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Dial 108 to save a life

HELP AT HAND

Come June, the long-pending dial-an-ambulance service to ferry patients to hospitals or for on-spot emergency help will become a reality in Jharkhand.

Director in chief of health services Dr Pravin Chandra said that 330-odd ambulances would be available across the state at the toll-free number 108 for emergency transport.

"Almost, all prerequisites for the launch of the service have been completed. The final step is to select a fabricator that would suffice the ambulances with required life support equipments. Two companies have qualified for the bidding that will be opened within a week. The selected company will then attach modern life-support facilities in the vehicles," Chandra said.

The ambulances would be launched in the state in a phase-wise manner. Ranchi, East Singhbhum and Hazaribagh would be covered in the first phase. Likewise, all the districts in the state would be covered in eight months' time. The funds for the ambulances have been sanctioned under the Centre's National Health Mission (NHM) scheme.

The toll-free 108, currently functional in 19 states, would be accessible through landlines and mobile phones round the clock. The facility would be run through a centralised call centre at Doranda in Ranchi.

"We have selected Ziqitza Health Care Limited, a Hyderabad-based company, to manage the call centre. They would also appoint paramedical staff that would rush with ambulance during emergency," he added.

The patient would not be charged either for the ambulance service or for the medical assistance provided to him/her. Patients' relatives would also have the liberty to select hospital of their choice.


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