Universalization of emergency medical services-108


No effort has been taken by BJP government to expand the emergency service. Most of the states have pursued it on their own. Emergency medical services is run in Public Private Partnership mode in different states. The services, known by the helpline number 108, has proved to be very effective, saving an estimated 1.2 million lives over a decade. Currently, the 108 service operates in a total of 31 states and union territories with 8061 ambulances supported by the National Health Mission (NHM).  However, there are several problems associated with the services, due to lack of regulation and clear directives.

Instead of universalizing medical services through 108, the government has launched ERSS (Emergency Relief Support System) project across the country by allocating 321 crore under Nirbhaya Funds. Under this project, a single number based 112 emergency services which will connect to Police, Fire, Health and other help lines through an Emergency Response Centre in the State. Keeping in mind the spirit of the promise, we would count the promise fulfilled if the Government makes the “112” service functional across the country. However, as of 28 November 2018, Himachal Pradesh officially started implementing this emergency number through its app ‘112 India’. In states like Delhi dialling 112 leads directly to Delhi Police only not ambulance which may be a noble act but not related to the promise made which is that of medical emergency.

Clearly, the Government has not done anything to universalise the medical emergency service, it is classified as “Broken”

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