Healthcare to the poor: Govt planning a hike in financial assistanceThe government is planning to increase the financial assistance from Rs100,000 to Rs500,000 for treating poverty-stricken citizens with various ailments.
The government is planning to increase the financial assistance from Rs100,000 to Rs500,000 for treating poverty-stricken citizens with various ailments. The Ministry of Health has sought the Ministry of Finance (MoF) consent in this regard.
The MoH provides support to poor people suffering from kidney ailments, cancer, heart diseases, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, spinal injury and head injury and sickle cell anemia. Recently, it has also added liver disease, thalassemia (intracranial haemorrhage), anemia and stroke.
Once the MoF gives its consent, patients can avail services up to Rs500,000 immediately, according to MoH Spokesperson Bhogendra Dotel. “We will send the amount directly to health facilities where patients can continue their medical treatment without financial worries,” he said.
Impoverished people with the listed diseases and conditions can apply for the scheme on the recommendation of an eight-member district committee headed by the Chief District Officer. Another committee chaired by the Health secretary will endorse funds for the eligible people.
The government has developed “Directives to provide financial support to poverty-stricken citizens 2013/14” which also contains a list of government hospitals where the services will be provided while patients may be transferred to a private hospital on the recommendation of the medical board. Patients who need to go abroad for treatment should compulsorily get an approval from the medical board certifying that the disease cannot be treated in the country. The medical board is chaired by the director of Bir Hospital with heads of hospital’s surgery and medicine departments as its members.
The government has been providing free dialysis service to all the kidney patients and also supporting them in kidney transplants. As a kidney transplant costs around Rs300,000 in Nepal, an increase in financial assistance means people with kidney ailments would get the entire services for free. While it might provide a much-needed succor to the poor, experts urge a stringent regulatory mechanism to check on possible misuse of funds. The MoH is still getting complaints that people from sound financial background have been availing the free services while the needy ones are deprived of the facility.