Tamil Nadu

108 helpline got calls mostly from COVID-19 patients, pregnant women

Amid the pandemic and the lockdown last year, the 108 ambulance service handled a large number of patients, including those infected with COVID-19 and pregnant women, in the Chennai region. They accounted for more than half of the cases handled by the ambulance network in six districts of the region.

Last year, 3,30,084 persons used the ambulance service in Chennai region that covers Chennai, Tiruvallur, Chengalpattu, Kancheepuram, Cuddalore and Villupuram districts. The callers included COVID-19 patients, pregnant women, persons injured in road accidents and those in other medical emergencies, such as cardiac patients, poisoning and snake bites.

The ambulance service handled 1,24,919 patients with COVID-19 and 52,468 pregnant women.

Mohamed Bilal, regional manager, of GVK EMRI, which runs the 108 ambulance service, said, “A larger number of callers were patients with COVID-19. Similarly, many pregnant women utilised the ambulances and we took them mainly to government hospitals. During the lockdown, there were no road traffic accidents as there was no movement of vehicles.”

With the COVID-19 tally declining, the ambulance staff are back to concentrating on regular services.

In Chennai, the ambulance network reached 1,02,208 persons. Of these, 48,590 were COVID-19 patients and 6,262 pregnant women.

As many as 24,981 out of the total 66,012 persons covered in Tiruvallur district were COVID-19 patients. This was followed by 12,640 pregnant women. Patients with COVID-19 were moved from their homes to hospitals, and dropped back on being discharged.

Response time

There are over 160 ambulances operating in the two districts as well as 15 first responder bikes.

The emergency response centre received more than 15,000 calls a day. Ambulance service was available in eight minutes after a call in Chennai while the vehicles were also stationed near accident spots, officials said.

During the pandemic, about 26% to 28% beneficiaries who called the ambulances in Cuddalore and Villupuram districts were COVID-19 patients. In both the districts, pregnant women accounted for 28% of the callers. A total of 8,043 COVID-19 patients and 8,155 pregnant women used the ambulances in Villupuram while 10,017 COVID-19 patients and 10,611 pregnant women used the service in Cuddalore.

There are 33 ambulances in Kancheepuram and 60 in Chengalpattu. The network handled 33,288 COVID-19 patients in the two districts. Of these, 18,860 were pregnant women while 13,496 were persons injured in road accidents.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2021 10:27:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/108-helpline-got-calls-mostly-from-covid-19-patients-and-pregnant-women/article33663160.ece

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