For some time now, I wanted to express my sincere gratitude to ‘108 Services’ in Hyderabad for saving my life on 2nd August, 2008 midnight when I had an unprecedented, severe asthma attack and their fully equipped ‘108 – Ambulance’ reached exactly in 15 minutes and gave me the first aid by connecting me to the oxygen cylinder and took me to the hospital along with my wife with no time wasted anywhere…! I was unconscious and it would have been fatal, if it was any later..! It was an eye opener for me to understand about the services and later I did lot of research on the services provided by both EMRI (Emergency Management and Research Institute) and HMRI (Health Management and Research Institute) and found out the brilliance of our veteran health scientists and their pragmatic approach. In fact, later we could refer this model of their ‘Hospital on Wheels’ with a Mini Operation Theater to some of our clients in African Countries, where medical health care is still an oasis…!
I’m extremely sad that I had deferred writing my thanks giving article about the services only to find me writing almost an obituary of this fantastic concept which, by now, has been implemented in many of the states of India partially or completely…! When Former CEO of Satyam Conglomerate came up with his confession on the fraud he had committed, nobody had thought that his dream project initiated and supported by Satyam will ever go through this phase in its path forward…!
When Ramalinga Raju and team had conceptualized and created this institution with the support of then CM of Andhra Pradesh, Y S Rajasekhar Reddy and pulled in lot of eminent scientists and advisors like A P J Abdul Kalam, it was a dream coming into life for the common man. The people were really relating it to the ‘911 Services’ of the USA and it was a sigh of relief and there was a touching story like mine for everyone who used these services. As planned by the institution, it was replicated across the country in a phased manner at different levels…!
Withdrawal of Rajus & Satyam in the aftermath of the scam, who actually envisaged the entire project and later, demise of YSR had actually orphaned this project and with lot of reluctance GVK group had taken up the operations with a more reluctant Kiran Kumar Ministry, who had been grappling with lack of funds put these services in the dock..! Now, the quality of these services is quite pathetic and not worth to talk about…! Moreover, there have been a lot of blame games by GVK Group and the Government on this issue and the GVK Group categorically blamed that for months together they had not received the promised funding from the Government…?!!
Whatever may be the reasons, the current status of the quality of the services and the quality of the employees of the EMRI indicates the lack of interest and the incapability of both GVK Group and the AP Government and it is really a serious concern for the public??! If a single private firm is not able to run this, why can’t we discuss about involving more corporate houses as part of their CSR Programme (Corporate Social Responsibility) and make it successful? Why can’t we have value added services at an additional cost and thus bridge the gap in funding? Now with the introduction of the UID, the income groups can be identified & defined and a fees structure can be arrived at, accordingly. The need of the hour is to take this forward with top priority to save one of the most beautiful & important social health care milestones of our country…!
Note: If this issue is not addressed, this deterioration in the quality of the services may seep through to other states as well, like an epidemic...!