150,000 emergencies handled by Gujarat’s ‘108′ projectAugust 29th, 2008 - 8:09 pm ICT by IANS
Ahmedabad, Aug 29 (IANS) If you are in Gujarat and face an emergency, just dial the toll-free number `108′ and experts will rush to your help. At least 150,000 emergencies have been handled by a project being run by the state government and the Hyderabad-based Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI) in the past one year since its launch.”I want to make the 108 Emergency Response Service (ERS) one of the eight wonders of the world,” said Venkat Changavalli, CEO of EMRI.
Changavalli was speaking Friday at the first anniversary here of Gujarat EMRI completing successful operations in the state.
He said EMRI was now operational in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Uttarakhand. “Recently, I was in Europe and people there were surprised by the scale and scope of our achievement,” he said.
In India there are two million emergencies every year. “Our mission is to save one million lives in a year,” said Changavalli.
Six more states that have signed MoUs with EMRI are Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Goa, Assam and Karnataka. Operations would begin in all the six states by Nov 1, Changavalli said.
On August 29 last year, Gujarat EMRI was inaugurated by Chief Minister Narendra Modi and former president A.P.J. Kalam with just 14 ambulances and a year later there are over 300 ambulances.
The public private partnership (PPP) project between EMRI and the Gujarat government has become a model for other PPP projects. Today, within a span of just 12 months, it provides in all the 26 districts of the state, a world class emergency response service, said Gobind Lulla, Gujarat EMRI chief operating officer.
“Even as I am talking, three ambulances are being launched, taking the total to 303. It will be 320 by the end of next month,” Lulla said.
“95 percent of the emergency calls are attended in one ring. Within two to three minutes the ambulance is on its way,” he added.
On July 26 when the serial blasts occurred here, within an hour our team took 62 people to the trauma ward. Only one person died after admission.
Since its launch, 150,000 emergencies have been attended to. Currently, Gujarat EMRI is responding to 1,300 emergencies on a daily basis and saving 60 lives per day, Lulla said.
A common person thinks that 108 services means ambulance but it is more than just that. It has four aspects like medical, police, fire services and natural disasters all being attended to through the single toll-free number `108′, Lulla said.
EMRI has given special attention to pregnant women in rural areas. Of the 1,300 cases per day, 400 are related to pregnancies., and of these 366 deliveries are taking place in the EMRI ambulances, Lulla said.
“Health is most basic. If good health prevails it helps other areas of progress. For the government EMRI is one aspect. More important is increasing the number of trauma centres so that critical patients can be taken directly by 108 service within the ‘golden hour’ so that life can be saved,” said Health Minister Jaynarayan Vyas.
In seven-and-half minutes, one life should be saved is the target of EMRI.
The need for such a service arose because the country lacked a systematic Emergency Response Service (ERS), prevalent in the developed countries of the world. It is appalling that despite progressing in other areas of medicine, India still lacks basic emergency services, said Changavalli.
The project is the brainchild of B. Ramalinga Raju, founder and chairman of Satyam Computers and his brother B. Rama Raju. It was launched in Hyderabad on Aug 15, 2005.