108 Ambulance Service Hoodwinks People In Need In UP’s Ballia

LUCKNOW || Much to the dismay of those who thought that the 102 and 108 ambulance service will drastically change the way medical aid worked, now these services are being misused. What was started for the immediate attending of critical patients, in Ballia the hard truth is that now this is a mere taxi service that is flouting the basic idea behind the inception of this new service in the state.

Tragically now those drivers who are supposed to ferry patients are now minting money though these ambulances. With the irresponsible use of the service, the concerned department sprang into action and after investigating the whole episode, the action is being taken against the guilty people.

The state government had initiated the 108-number ambulance service so that patients do not have any problem in reaching the hospital from home or other distress points. Similarly, free 102 number ambulance service was started to take pregnant women from home to health centre/government hospital and return home after delivery, but this free service has taken the form of taxi service in Ballia. Drivers are now allegedly conniving with agents/broker in private nursing homes.

These brokers set up four to five patients on a route and take 4 to 5 hundred rupees per patient and leave them in the destination via a government ambulance. The fact surfaced courtesy the activism of local e-rickshaw drivers. One such broker was caught from a private hospital who described himself as an ambulance officer. Identified as Anees Kumar, he is a resident of Sahatwar.

The culprit has been handed over to the police. However, cops have not registered a case yet. On the ongoing fraud and illegal means of earning, the Nodal Officer Dr GP Chaudhary has been quoted saying the matter is being investigated and action will be taken against those who are guilty.

The 108 networks in the state is pegged at something around 2200 ambulances, for Lucknow it stands at a mere 44 ambulances. There were earlier last year reports of rampant crank callers disturbing workflow of the 108 ambulance system as well.

The 108 medical emergency response service needs to be dealt with in a more professional manner has been the common refrain. Since its inception in 2005, it has saved lives of over 2 million patients across 15 states and 2 union territories.

The brainchild of the Emergency Management & Research Institute (EMRI), a non-profit under Indian conglomerate GVK, the service attends “80,000 calls daily and touches a population of 800 million”. The denizens of Uttar Pradesh saw the inception of the service on September 14, 2012. The system caters to India’s poorest patients in urban and rural areas before being taken to hospital.

108 is a toll-free number that is usually called for any help on the Health, Police and fire emergency front. This helps in working out instant help. Available for the masses 24X7X365, it can be dialled from any landline or mobile. It covers all strata’s of society and it goes beyond the APL and BPL limitations.

The system came into being after it was estimated that around 4 million Indians were dying every year because of inadequate medical emergency services. Of 4 million deaths, 60 per cent were cardiac-related emergencies, followed by 1,50,000 pregnancy-related and then road accident fatalities among other causes.

In a nation where medical emergency and allied services are a bare necessity, the 108 system continues to do good work but hiccups continue to haunt.

WHY DIAL 108

1. When you suffer a heart attack
2. Stomachache and breathing trouble
3. Any kind of accident
4. Animal bites or losing consciousness
5. Any act of crime or a place set ablaze and there is a need for an ambulance or fire brigade
6. Any other major emergency scenario

–Arijit Bose/Lucknow

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