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24-hr health information helpline in State

By Staff reporter

GUWAHATI, July 20 � Ninety days from today, a 24-hour health information helpline, an initiative of the Government of Assam, in partnership with the Health Management and Research Institute (HMRI), Hyderabad, will be activated with an initial capacity of handling 6000 calls per day.

Announcing this, Minister of Health Himanta Biswa Sarma said that this round-the-clock 104 service which will provide the people standardized medical information, advice and counselling, will change the rural health care scenario as well as keep doctors on their toes.

Apart from accessing information through this helpline, the people can also lodge complaint against government doctors who are missing when they should be on duty.

�This service can be used by the common people as a complaint booth also,� said Sarma observing that this service will ensure speedy dissemination of all the healthcare schemes of the government to distant areas and will also expedite the official response in the event of outbreak of any disease.

This step in the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode has placed Assam next in line to Andhra Pradesh, which first launched this service.

The memorandum of understanding for setting up this helpline between the Government of Assam and HMRI was signed today in the presence of Sarma and other high officials. NRHM Mission Director, Assam, Dr J.B Ekka and HMRI CEO Balaji Utia signed the agreement.

The one-time capital cost for setting up a 50-man capacity call centre is to the tune of Rs 5.82 crore and the annual operational cost will be Rs 5.72 crore. This centre will attend to 6000 calls per day.

Sarma said that in future the centre�s manpower capacity will be increased to 100 so as to accommodate 12,000 to 15,000 calls per day.

The distinctive feature of this helpline is that it will provide professional psychiatric counselling and the minister said that this provision will bring down suicide rate, stress and depression level, a tendency growing in the State. Medical care at the grassroots too is expected to improve as Asha, ANM workers would be able to access professional advice through this helpline and act speedily on that. The users will be able to access information on all health aspects including information about health service providers, diagnostic services, hospitals etc.

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24-hr health information helpline in State

GUWAHATI, July 20 � Ninety days from today, a 24-hour health information helpline, an initiative of the Government of Assam, in partnership with the Health Management and Research Institute (HMRI), Hyderabad, will be activated with an initial capacity of handling 6000 calls per day.

Announcing this, Minister of Health Himanta Biswa Sarma said that this round-the-clock 104 service which will provide the people standardized medical information, advice and counselling, will change the rural health care scenario as well as keep doctors on their toes.

Apart from accessing information through this helpline, the people can also lodge complaint against government doctors who are missing when they should be on duty.

�This service can be used by the common people as a complaint booth also,� said Sarma observing that this service will ensure speedy dissemination of all the healthcare schemes of the government to distant areas and will also expedite the official response in the event of outbreak of any disease.

This step in the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode has placed Assam next in line to Andhra Pradesh, which first launched this service.

The memorandum of understanding for setting up this helpline between the Government of Assam and HMRI was signed today in the presence of Sarma and other high officials. NRHM Mission Director, Assam, Dr J.B Ekka and HMRI CEO Balaji Utia signed the agreement.

The one-time capital cost for setting up a 50-man capacity call centre is to the tune of Rs 5.82 crore and the annual operational cost will be Rs 5.72 crore. This centre will attend to 6000 calls per day.

Sarma said that in future the centre�s manpower capacity will be increased to 100 so as to accommodate 12,000 to 15,000 calls per day.

The distinctive feature of this helpline is that it will provide professional psychiatric counselling and the minister said that this provision will bring down suicide rate, stress and depression level, a tendency growing in the State. Medical care at the grassroots too is expected to improve as Asha, ANM workers would be able to access professional advice through this helpline and act speedily on that. The users will be able to access information on all health aspects including information about health service providers, diagnostic services, hospitals etc.