New Delhi, Jul 2: Getting health tips and information on diseases is now just a call away as the government on Thursday launched a 24-hour toll free helpline to enable people to get details about various health issues, policies and programmes.
Union Health Minister J P Nadda today unveiled a voice web of National Health Portal (NHP) during the inauguration of a three-day national summit in Shimla, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Digital India Week.
"The NHP Voice Web is a 24X7 toll free helpline wherein the caller can get authentic health information on various topics ranging from handy health tips, disease based information, government health policies and programmes, health facilities, career options for students and other health related information," an official statement said.
Users would need to dial the toll free number (1800-180-1104) and speak about the information they need. The advanced speech enabled system is capable of recognising the user voice input.
It then accordingly plays out the relevant information through an interactive conversation. Currently the information is available in five languages namely English, Hindi, Tamil, Bengali and Gujarati while more Indian languages would be covered later.
"The intent of using telephone technology as a medium to disseminate information is to reach out to masses in remote locations, where there is no Internet access thus overcoming the barrier of illiteracy.
NHP was inaugurated by Nadda in 2014 and aims to promote health literacy amongst a wide spectrum of users including general public, students, health care professionals and researchers.
It also aims to act as a single point of access for consolidated and authentic health information. In the next phase, users will be able to know about the nearby hospitals, blood banks and ambulance services as well.
People can get information about more than 20 diseases, tips related to lifestyle, road safety, insurance details as well as more than 200 health programmes.
Elaborating the process, Health Ministry officials said the user dials a number from his phone and the call goes to Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system.
The user then says the reason for the call, for example 'Disease', and IVR will process the request and map it to the corresponding functionality and the supported content is played back.