GUWAHATI, Feb 15 - Sarathi 104 � the 24x7 health helpline � has received over 2,00,000 calls seeking health and medical advice since its inception in November last year. This is being viewed as a promising start in meeting the challenge of health information access for the people of the State.
�The average number of calls received has been increasing every day. Compared to average 1,765 calls per day in December, the number of calls has increased to 1,868 per day in January. Seventy-eight per cent of the callers are in the age bracket of 15-39 years, while the marginal increase in the ratio of callers is in the age bracket of 15-23 years,� a Sarathi 104 official said.
Kamrup tops the districts in terms of calls received. There has been a marginal increase in the number of calls received from Nalbari and Darrang districts as well. Karimganj, Tinsukia, Dhemaji, Kokrajhar and Karbi Anglong districts recorded the lowest number of calls received.
Health advice queries related to pregnancy, newborn babies, digestive system, skin, orthopaedics and ENT have been the most frequently asked. �Issues of well-being are the main concern for the counselling calls received. On the disease surveillance calls, those pertaining to diarrhoea have been significant,� the official said.
Sarathi 104 is a health helpline that provides medical advice, information and counselling for the people of the State. This programme is a public-private partnership with the Government of Assam and Health Management & Research Institute (HMRI) that has been spearheaded by National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), Assam to solve the problem of health information access and to reach out to urban and rural populace and ensure health for all.
Recently, Sarathi 104 averted a suicide attempt while answering a call on January 26 by a youth of 23 years. �He was requesting for information on eye donation and the medical officer who was explaining the procedure suspected from his tone that the youth was contemplating suicide. The call was then transferred to a counsellor but got disconnected. The counsellor took the initiative and again established contact with the youth and successfully convinced the young man to see life in a positive light, getting over his career and unemployment issues.�