First Aid Helpline launched by Med1 with Dialog
By Cheranka Mendis
American-based emergency medical response service provider Med1 yesterday launched an emergency First Aid Helpline in partnership with Dialog Axiata.
The First Aid Helpline, which can be accessed by calling 1990 on Dialog mobiles, will allow Dialog subscribers to obtain expert first aid advice in times of a health emergency from any location islandwide.
Covering a multitude of health-related areas under three categories – medical, trauma and special cases – the helpline will provide advice on allergies, choking, cardiac arrests, seizures, heart attacks, amputation, gunshot wounds, nosebleeds, assault, psychiatric and domestic violence among 50 health problems.
Med 1 CEO Donnie Woodyard speaking at the launch stated that the line is a “truly lifesaving service” as on average six people die from automobile accidents daily and 17 from heart attacks. Most of the time in these cases, death can be prevented with appropriate action, Woodyard said.
“We believe everyone should be trained in first aid. However we realise that this is not possible in any country.”
He asserted that the helpline is a result of years of research and living in Sri Lanka.
“This is offered 24 hours a day, in all three languages. A team of 30 well trained MBBS doctors, nurses, psychiatrists and emergency officers are behind the line offering advice on emergency situations for Dialog customers.”
Stating that this is not a replacement for the family doctor, Woodyard assured that this is in fact a support line to help until proper medical care is given to the patient. Comprehensive data collection is also part of the system, which would enable Med1 to keep tabs on the patients and follow through accordingly.
“In this day and age mobile phones are used for a number of things; bringing safety and emergency healthcare services to the customers is a great service we take pride in partnering in,” Dialog Group CEO Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya said. Noting it as a “groundbreaking service,” he assured his cooperation in further enhancement of the service.” Dialog charges Rs. 8 per minute for the service.
“The mobile telecommunication sector is the great equaliser when it comes to advancing services for the nation by breaking the digital divide between services available to urban and rural consumers,” Group COO Supun Weerasinghe said. “Dialog remains committed to offering the world’s best applications to all of its subscribers through a growing portfolio of value added services and is pleased to partner with MED1 in this endeavour.”
“This is part of a master plan for emergency training in Sri Lanka. We started with the training and then launched a communication line. The next step is to get international quality ambulance service in the future to back up the service provided,” Woodyard said.
Med1 is an American managed Sri Lankan company registered under the BOI to provide ‘out of hospital’ emergency service and training. The company initiated phase one of the national rollout of emergency medical services in 2011, by launching the only internationally-accredited emergency medical training ‘International Medical Training Institute’ in Ratmalana.
The company also has a ‘Public Access Defibrillation’ to decrease the deaths from cardiac arrests in Sri Lanka. Plans for the future includes an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) line representing the complete continuum of care for the critically ill and injured not only with the advanced ambulance service but also through public education, communication, training and quality assurance as well.