The Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today dedicated ‘Sarathi 104’, a 24-hour health information health-line service to the people of the State at a function held at Dispur today.
With this, Assam became the third State after Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat to have launched the service.
The helpline – developed in the PPP mode with a tie-up with the Andhra Pradesh-based Heath Management and Research Institute – will provide medical advice and counselling service on various ailments, including mental illness. The call centre set up in the city’s Chandmari area for the purpose has a capacity to attend 60,000 calls every day, and this will soon be augmented to 1,20,000 calls.
Sarathi will enable people to have authentic and standardized medical advice from skilled medical professionals, including prescriptions through SMSes on mobile phones. The calls for advice will be classified into three categories, i.e, critical, serious and stable, and advice will follow on the basis of the nature of the call. In case of emergency requirement, Sarathi will facilitate 108 emergency service vans.
One can dial 104 from both landline and mobile phones to avail the service.
In his address, Gogoi termed the launching of Sarathi as a memorable occasion and said that it would go a long way in fulfilling a crucial health care need of the people, especially those in interior areas.
“Our Government has taken up a slew of initiatives in the health sector – especially for the poor – in order to reduce the gap between the have and the have-nots. We are planning to launch a scheme soon for the poorest of the poor who are left out of the schemes and do not enjoy the fruits of development,” he said.
The Chief Minister said that the Government would provide 25 lakh medicine-laced mosquito nets to the people to reduce the incidence of malaria.
Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, in his speech, dwelt on the salient features of the service and said that from now onwards people would no longer have to wait in queues to seek doctor’s advice, as all health-related information would be readily available 24X7 just by making a call through any phone.
Sarma said that the service would also be utilized to register outbreak of diseases and in registration of complaints and suggestions for further improvement of the public health care system.