Assam launches healthcare helpline

November 7th, 2010 - 5:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, Nov 7 (IANS) The Assam government Sunday launched a healthcare facility under which patients will be able to seek tips from doctors round-the-clock on an emergency telephone number.

The emergency helpline 104 was inaugurated by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.

For the service, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the government and Health Management Research Institute, a non-profit making healthcare facility provider based in Andhra Pradesh.

“Assam has become the second Indian state after Andhra Pradesh to have this call-a-doctor facility and the idea is to provide instant help to a patient or their families,” Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told IANS.

“In many cases, a patient dies before one realises what to do and where to go. Now one has to just dial 104 and a doctor would give the best possible advice,” he said.

About 35 doctors would handle the emergency service round-the-clock that, initially, is estimated to be used by 6,000 patients daily.

“People can also seek stress related counselling, especially students during examinations and people living with HIV/AIDS,” he said.

The 108 emergency ambulance services in the state was doing wonders since it was launched two years ago with patients across the state availing the facility of getting shifted from homes to the nearest hospital in the quickest possible time, the minister said.

Last year, the government recruited 800 doctors to boost the rural healthcare sector, he said.

Other health schemes included a daily cash allowance of up to Rs.100, besides free meals and medicines, for all patients admitted to government hospitals, he said.

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