''More than 2.5 lakh lives saved since launch of 108 service''

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Coimbatore, Feb 25 (PTI) More than 2.85 lakh lives havebeen saved all over the country since the introduction of the''108'' Ambulance Service in 2005, former CEO of EmergencyManagement and Research Institute (EMRI), which conceptualisedthe project, said today.

Praising the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi forbeing "totally involved" in the concept, Venkat Changavalli,former CEO of EMRI, said the DMK chief periodically reviewedthe project and personally monitored the developments.

The ''108'' ambulances attend to medical, police and fireemergencies within about 20 minutes from receiving the call.

The Tamil Nadu government, which has 440 ambulances onthe 108 service, wanted to increase it to 700 in the nearfuture, he said. The state government, which has given EMRIland and building to function in the state, was planning tolaunch another 50 ambulances in a couple of days, he added.

In less than six years since its launch, the service hasbeen launched in 11 states benefiting approximately 400million, Changavalli said.

Changavalli said the infant mortality has come down by atleast 20 per cent in all the states in which the service hasbeen introduced. Institutional deliveries have also gone up,he added, as one of the main aims of the service was to extendhelp to the pregnant women in rural areas to reach hospitals.

He said he wanted to replicate the concept in differentsegments of health and education, by promotiong public-privatepartnership.

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