EMRI ambulance service going national

Written by Economy Bureau | Hyderabad, Aug 15 | Updated: Aug 16 2007, 06:58am hrs
The Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI), an NGO promoted by Satyam Computers as its technology partner to offer emergency response ambulance services under private-public partnership, is going national.

According to Venkat Changavalli, CEO, EMRI, the service will be launched in Gujarat on August 29 with 25 ambulances covering Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar. With the run-away success in Andhra Pradesh, EMRI is receiving requests from various state governments including Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka to operate the ambulance service in their respective states, Changavalli said.

At a special function here on Wednesday, former President Abdul Kalam has joined the movement as chairman Emeritus of EMRI. The service will have a toll-free telephone number '108', which will be uniform throughout the country.

Though initially Satyam Rajus funded the project with Rs 50 crore for securing 70 state-of-the-art ambulances beside connectivity and 30 acres of land, the Andhra Pradesh government latter come forward to participate in the operations up to 85% cost, which is now scaled up to 95%. Presently, EMRI is operating 380 ambulances and shortly adding 122 ambulances, thus covering the entire state including rural areas.

However, EMRI now proposes to other state governments that they have to incur 100% cost including the ambulances, staff besides land. "We are in the verge of signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Madhya Pradesh government in the next one to two weeks. We also have received letter of interest from the Kerala government," the spokesperson of EMRI said.

Interestingly, the Andhra Pradesh government has included medical information service and insurance with EMRI and plans to project it as 'Rajiv Aarogya Sri', thus the officials say that the entire scheme of health to common man is achieved.

Accordingly, the health information service will be offered through a toll-free service on 104. Thus the caller can now call 108 for emergencies and 104 for routine medical services in the state, AP Chief Minister Rajasekhara Reddy said while participating in a function to dedicate the 108 emergency service the people of the state. EMRI has, so far, received 6.3 million calls, while it attended 3.5 lakh emergencies and saved about 14,000 lives, says Changavalli.