Kerala

Now dial 104 for Disha

Disha, the National Health Mission and the Health Department’s round-the-clock helpline, has got a new toll-free number - 104.

The new number comes in the wake unification of health helplines nationally. Besides 104, Disha will continue to be available on 1056 and 0471 2552056.

It was in January last year, during the initial phase of COVID-19, that Disha was made into a COVID-19 helpline. Since its inception, the 24-hour helpline has received 10.5 lakh calls. However, 6.17 lakh calls have been during the pandemic alone.

Calls can be made to Disha to get general information regarding quarantine and its violation, mental health support, doctor-on-call, vaccination, migrant workers, e-Sanjeevani, Kerala Arogya Suraksha Paddhati (KASP), allergy, child development, availability of medicines, and so on.

The maximum number of calls — 85,000 — pertained to doubts over home quarantine. As many as 45,000 calls related to symptoms of COVID-19, while 69,500 were about its prevention and travel during the pandemic. Calls related to telemedicine came to 45,789, while that related to food numbered 10,989. Those related to COVID-19 testing and its results totalled 35,679.

The maximum number of calls were received from Thiruvananthapuram district – 1,01,518. The least were from Wayanad – 4,562. At many as 10% of the calls were from outside the State.

While the usual number of calls to Disha numbered between 300 and 500 a day, during the pandemic, it went up to 3,500 calls.

Disha was started as a telemedical health helpline in 2013. Experience social work professionals and doctors are at the helm here to clear doubts. It began with 15 counsellors and six doctors, but following an increase in calls during the pandemic, the number of doctors at Disha was increased to 30.

When the pandemic seemed under control and the number of cases was less, the desks were reduced to 22. But in the wake of the second wave that is tearing through the State, the numbers of desks was increased to 50 to field the calls.

Now, there are 65 counsellors, 25 volunteers, five doctors, three floor managers at Disha. It can handle up to 5,000 calls a day. It coordinates with ward councillors for travel help, food distribution, and local support; the police; supply officers; State and district control rooms for COVID reporting and medical care; Collectorate control room; war room for migrant workers; labour welfare officers; empanelled doctors; psychiatrists; and counsellors.


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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 3:07:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/now-dial-104-for-disha/article34573059.ece

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