The Karnataka government on Thursday announced that it will launch a new helpline, 104 Arogya Vahini, for providing free medical advice to citizens who are in dire situations. This will be in addition to the existing 108 helpline.
Speaking to mediapersons here, Health and Family Welfare Minister U T Khader said the new helpline will have an exclusive call centre monitored by medical practioners to provide urgent medical advice.
The minister said there will be no overlapping in the functions of the new 104 helpline and the existing 108. In cases of emergencies, a citizen can call 104 for medical advice and 108 for seeking an ambulance to reach the nearest hospital.
The Health department is planning to introduce comprehensive health insurance for non-BPL families. “Most people face severe financial constraints when they have to undergo emergency surgeries. We intend to provide a comprehensive health insurance for such families, even if they are not under the BPL category,” Khader said.
On reports that the government was planning to discontinue the health service schemes of the previous BJP government, Khader said that his department will continue all the ‘helpful’ medical schemes. He said that the Vajpayee Arogya scheme, initiated by the previous regime, will continue. Officials have been instructed to clear the bills of beneficiaries within 48 hours.
He said that a committee will be formed to provide relief to each of those districts affected by Endosulfan. The committees will comprise health officials, the deputy commissioners and local MLAs. In a month’s time, the Health department will file a detailed report on the number of people affected by Endosulfan.