THE ‘104’ Health Advice Call Centre, which became operational in January 2012 with the aim to provide 24×7 advice to health workers of Maharashtra, has till November this year received a whopping 19,05,275 calls.
A majority were from Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) — 4.42 lakh calls followed by 1.53 lakh calls from Auxillary Nursing Midwives (ANMs), 51,662 calls from medical officers and 3.93 lakh calls from other health staff. There were 45,903 calls on blood requirements while 6,564 calls pertained to grievances. In 7,511 calls, people were counselled on mental health issues.
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At least 2,300 calls were labelled as critical since July 2013 and immediate relief provided to the callers. For instance, at the Primary Health Centre at Yavatmal, during a delivery the baby’s body was out, but the head was stuck in the uterus of the woman. The medical officer was given immediate advice on how to keep oxygen and the suction machine ready for the baby. “In another case, an 18-month-old was sent to the OPD at a rural PHC for kerosene poisoning,” said Niraja Banker, in charge of the call centre, Dial 104.
The call centre is aimed at helping health staff take quick decisions for providing effective healthcare and expert advice for treatment of patients; 104 is a toll-free number accessible from both landlines and various mobile services. The facility to let citizens call 104 for blood requirements was started in January 2014 while counselling for mental health issues was started in February this year.