There has been a two-fold rise in the numbers of calls made by the citizens at the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Helpline numbers in the last two months. Civic officials said most of the calls were related to ICU and ventilators beds and ambulances. On an average, the BMC Helpline number received 2,172 calls per day.
According to the BMC data, the total number of calls received on the BMC helpline number increased to 2,10,694 until July 29 from 69,407 which was on May 22. Of the total calls, 98,985 calls were related to Covid, while 82,977 calls were for other queries. “We have received 1.5 lakhs calls in the last two months which means more than 200 per cent. Similarly, the calls for ambulance enquiry also increased by 153 per cent,” said an official.
Earlier, the BMC had centralised the system due to which all calls were attended by doctors and their teams. Most of the calls were left unattended or they had to wait for their turn to come. During that time most of the calls were related to groceries but now it’s Covid. “We decentralised everything and decided to set up a ward war room at the ward level. This helped us to answer everyone’s calls. All the wards are getting on an average 80-100 calls per day, of which 20 are for ambulances,” said Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner, BMC.
He further said after mid-June the calls related to bed availability reduced. Most of the calls were received in the month of May and June. “We have also learnt citizens have become more alert. If any family member shows symptoms, they call on the Helpline and seek advice. They also ask about the measures that need to be taken if they are home quarantined,” Kakani added.
Dr Ram, heading the K-east ward war room said since the cases have stabilised in Mumbai, the number of calls has decreased in the last two weeks. Most of the calls are related to patients or their relatives, seeking advice from doctors or enquiring about ambulances. “Currently, we get 40-50 calls daily. Last month we got 60-70 calls. Most of the callers sought advice regarding what to do if their close ones showed corona-like symptoms,” he said.