According to data released by GVK-Emergency Medical Research Institute, India’s emergency services number, 108, has helped save lives of over 1.5 million patients in the country, as reported by Business Standard (BS). The hotline number has been active for the past twelve years.
This service, though not uniformly available across the country, still serves the largest population in the world. It is offered in public-private partnership under an initiative of GVK-Emergency Medical Research Institute (GVK-EMRI). “We attend 80,000 calls daily and touch a population of 800 million,” said K Krishnam Raju, Director, GVK-EMRI.
A person can dial the number 108 in distress and ambulances equipped with life support systems are sent over by GVK-EMRI. This entity employs 47,000 employees in 16 states and two UTs (Union Territories) to help the patients.
However, much more needs to be done. According to an estimate, less than 5 per cent of Kolkata's patients travel in ambulances with life-support facilities. Also, the average response time for a 108 ambulance is around 20-25 minutes. This needs to be brought down as it could improve the chances of survival of patients. It was also reported in 2016 that three out of five ambulances in India were not in serviceable condition.
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