23 December 2011
By Umesh Isalkar
The country's first health advice call centre in public sector is going to be set up in Pune by the end of this month. The 24x7 health advice call centre — initiated by the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) — will have a panel of specialists who will provide medical advice to auxiliary nurse midwives (ANM), Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA), health staff and medical officers for effective management of patients and various health activities at primary health centres, sub–centres and rural hospitals in Maharashtra.
"All preparations to roll out the unique and first–of–its–kind venture in the country are nearing completion. The 24x7 health advice call centre with a toll free 3 digit number — 104 — will become functional at the state–run Aundh Chest Hospital by the end of this month. Th move in particular will facilitate the work of multipurpose health workers, ANMs and ASHA, active in the state's rural parts who face difficulties in rendering services while on field," Vilas Deshpande, deputy director, information, education and communication bureau (IEC) told TOI on Thursday.
The inbound domestic call centre will function as a helpdesk, providing information about health activity and medical care. "Specialist medical advice will be given to caller who will simply dial the toll free 3 digit numbers from landline or mobile phones. The call centre services are only meant for facilitating the work of ANMs, ASHA, health staff and medical officers working in staterun healthcare facilities. It will guide health personnel's timely referral, proper intervention and managements of the patients," Deshpande said.
The objective of the project is to reduce death rate, infant mortality rate, and maternal mortality rate and disease morbidity.
"The call centre will be very useful for giving instructions to the healthcare providers during epidemics and other health campaign. The paramedical and medical staff working in school health program will get advice for medical checkup and treatment," Deshpande said.
Despite the presence of an extensive network of public sector health facilities, the majority of inpatient and out–patient care is provided by the private sector and this share has gradually increased over time. Latest estimates indicate that 80% of all ambulatory and 50% of in–patient treatment occurs in the private sector. However, the public sector continues to be the major provider of health care services.Immediate objectives
- Manage the health advice call centre to provide 24x7 uninterrupted services by putting in place a robust technical and managerial support system
- Provide medical advice by specialist doctors and paramedical staff for patient care
- Provide guidance to the medical and paramedical health care provider for school health program (examination and treatment)
- Provide information to health care providers for quick action in epidemic outbreak, disaster, natural calamities and in major accidents.