In the last three years, as many as 1.18 lakh people from Pune district have availed of medical services by calling 108, the state ambulance emergency services number. Analysis of data shows that in 2016, Pune emerged among the top three districts with the highest number of road accidents, pregnancy labour cases and cardiac emergencies, according to the Maharashtra Emergency Medical Services (MEMS). More than 12 lakh people from 35 districts in the state have called 108 for immediate medical assistance in the last three years. Calls for assisting pregnant women who went into labour were among the highest, with as many as 3,94,461 availing the 108 facility in the last three years. At least 12,378 women delivered babies in the ambulance itself.
While 1.55 lakh calls were made to 108 from across the state for immediate medical assistance for road accident victims, Pune saw the highest number of such calls. According to the Maharashtra Emergency Medical Services data, 1,790 persons injured in road accidents were assisted by 108 ambulances in 2014. The figure shot up to 3,250 in 2015, and there were as many as 4,509 cases in 2016. A total of 15,815 pregnant women who went into labour were assisted by the MEMS ambulances in Pune district last year while the service also dealt with 274 burns cases and 178 cardiac emergencies.
MEMS is a state project under the National Rural Health Mission. It is operated by the Bharat Vikas Group (BVG) India Limited and UKSAS (United Kingdom). Symbiosis International Centre is the academic partner and involved in training doctors. The emergency toll free number — 108 — also serves as the first point of contact for police and fire-related emergencies. The Emergency Response Centre Physicians (ERCP) provide online medical direction to doctors in the ambulance during emergency calls. The emergency response centre has been set up at the district hospital in Aundh and 937 ambulances have been stationed at strategic locations across the state. Dr Dnyaneshwar Shelke, chief operating officer of BVG India that runs the MEMS, said there are as many as 937 ambulances, including 233 Advanced Life Support (ALS) and 704 Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulances, with over 5,000 EMS professionals (doctors).
“The ambulances are distributed as per geographical areas. Mumbai has the highest number of ambulances, 102, followed by 84 in Pune and 46 in Nashik. There is also increasing awareness about the toll-free number, 108, so the number of calls has increased,” said Dr Jyoti Mane, one of the coordinators at MEMS. This year, from January till March, 1,217 accidents were recorded in Pune district, 65 burns cases, 41 cardiac emergencies, 4186 – labour/pregnancy cases and 4,717 medical emergencies (these can include a wide range of problems such as issues with breathing, migraine attack, paralysis, high fever or allergic reactions among others.) Across the state, from January till March, medical emergency cases (60,221) labour/pregnancy cases (51,697) and vehicular accident cases (19,436) emerged as the top reasons to call emergency services, said mEMS coordinators.
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