Helpline to support eight local languages
On the occasion of World AIDS Day, Piramal Swasthya part of Piramal Foundation has partnered with PSI on behalf of the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) to launch India’s first national AIDS helpline – 1097.
The 24X7 national AIDS helpline call centre is a one stop solution for citizens of India for Comprehensive Information on AIDS, counselling services, information directory/referral service and grievance redressal (complaints and feedback escalation). It will be accessible in eight languages — Hindi, English, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Marathi, Assamese and Bengali.
PSI/NACO has selected Piramal Swasthya in a competitive bid. It already has 104 helpline as a solution to India’s citizens’ health information access problem. 104 helpline provides medically validated advice, counselling services and directory information. The healthcare helpline has serviced over 74 million callers across six states — Assam, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Jharkhand in partnership with the respective state governments.
Dr Balaji Utla, Head – Piramal Swasthya, said, “The 1097 National AIDS Helpline is a remarkable initiative by the government and we are proud to be the chosen implementing partners. As Piramal Swasthya, we run the 104 Healthcare Helpline in six Indian states and have reached out to 70 million people. Hence, this partnership for the 1097 National AIDS Helpline is a natural progression of our desire towards making healthcare accessible, affordable and available to all segments of the population, especially those most vulnerable. We are thankful to PSI/NACO for having chosen us as their preferred partners to work towards educating the masses on HIV/AIDS.”
Piramal Swasthya’s ‘Hub and Spoke’ hub will be located in Hyderabad that will detect incoming calls. The calls will be forwarded to a regional level call centres (spokes) depending on the language chosen by the caller. All call centres will be staffed by trained and experienced counsellors. The counsellors will be from nursing, paramedics, sociology, psychology, social work, etc. background and have undergone counselling skills training at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in collaboration with NACO. Through this model, the government aims to achieve its goals for the fourth phase of NACP which is reducing new infections by 50 per cent and providing comprehensive care, support and treatment to all persons living with HIV/AIDS.
More than 80 per cent of women and approximately 70 per cent of men in India do not have comprehensive knowledge about HIV/AIDS. This is the first time where a national toll free number has been launched to provide information and tele-communication requirements of the population at higher risk to HIV infection. The goals of the fourth phase of the National HIV/AIDS Control Programme (NACP IV) are aligned with the government’s 12th Five-Year-Plan.
EP News Bureau – Mumbai