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From October, telephonic health service in Assam
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Come October, and a phone call is all that will be required to get medical advice in Assam, and the prescription will be through a text message. A phone call to a 24x7 helpline number - 104, will address minor and some acute ailments in Assam, besides providing psychiatric counselling.

Through a public-private-partnership (PPP) initiative, the state government is all set to introduce this health helpline service from October this year, where doctors and paramedics will address health problems of patients and will prescribe over the counter (OTC) drugs to them through text messages.

The state health department today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Hyderabad-based Health and Medical Research Institute (HMRI), a non-profit organisation, to provide the service. With this, Assam becomes the second state in the country after Andhra Pradesh to introduce such a call-a-doctor service.

In this PPP model, HMRI will provide the technology and experts, including trained doctors, paramedics, and counsellors, for counselling and advising patients. Stating it as “another milestone”, Assam’s health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the 104 service was a step towards ensuring right to health to the people. Assam is the only state in the country to have right to health law in effect.
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