Help is just a call away: State launches second ‘104’ health helpline in Bengaluru

Since inception, the first helpline has received over 2 crore calls from people seeking information on health and healthcare services.
Help is just a call away: State launches second ‘104’ health helpline in Bengaluru
Help is just a call away: State launches second ‘104’ health helpline in Bengaluru
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Following the success of its first helpline, the Karnataka Department of Health and Family Welfare is all set to expand its 104 Arogya Sahaya Vani service with the launch of a new call centre in Bengaluru. This is the second helpline call centre to be launched in the state after the one in Hubballi.

The call centre, which was opened at the Sir CV Raman General Hospital in Bengaluru on Wednesday, will function round the clock.

The existing 104 Arogya Kavacha centre in Hubballi has received over 2 crore calls since 2013 when it was launched. The centre in Hubballi started with 10,000 calls per day, quickly gaining popularity and now handles twice the number of calls.

The call centre was started to reach out to people in remote areas which have no access to doctors or medical facilities.

According to the health department, the decision to launch an additional centre was taken after the number of calls grew due to which the wait time increased resulting in a drop in the number of calls.

The State Data Centre of the Centre for e-Governance at Bengaluru is providing the PRI lines, servers and other facilities to both the call centres. All calls land at SDC (Reliance Data Centre) and get serviced by whichever call centre seat is free or with has the lowest waiting period.

The government has partnered with Hyderabad-based Piramal Swasthya Management Research Institute (PSMRI) to operate the centre on a public-private-partnership model.

What does the helpline do?

The 104-Health Help Line Call Centres advise callers on treatment for minor ailments through free phone calls and sends prescriptions through SMS. Besides, experts here also offer counselling services for medical and psychological conditions including depression, suicidal tendencies, drug addiction and other such other ailments.

The centre is also authorised to register complains against hospital staff or any government facility where patients have experienced dissatisfactory service.

At times of emergency, the helpline also doubles as a directory for details pertaining to the location of blood banks, and availability of blood and drugs.

Pregnant women who are registered under the Mother and Child Tracking System are also given reminder calls by 104 call centre staff. The call centre also provides information about state and national programmes to the callers to enable them to avail such services.

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