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Home News and Update Year 2010 A Year on, Health Scheme Benefits 1.5L People

A Year on, Health Scheme Benefits 1.5L People

Times of India
24 July 2010
Chennai, India

FE-SAVING: Patients who underwent surgeries under the Kalaignar State Health Insurance Scheme met CM M Karunanidhi at the secretariat on Friday LIFE-SAVING: Patients who underwent surgeries under the Kalaignar State Health Insurance Scheme met CM M Karunanidhi at the secretariat on Friday
Six–year–old Sivabalan, a blood cancer patient, vows to be a doctor when he grows up. Today, when the boy was invited to meet chief minster M Karunanidhi in his chamber at the secretariat to collect a memento given by the health department to patients who benefited from the Kalaignar State Health Insurance Scheme on its first anniversary, he told the chief minister, “I haven’t joined school yet. But, I would go once my chemotherapy cycles are over.” His parents requested the CM to help secure an admission for Sivabalan in a government school.

Sivabalan, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a cancer of the white blood cells, when he was aged about four, is one of the many beneficiaries of the state health insurance scheme.

When the immature cancerous white blood cells multiplied in his body and crippled him, he was admitted under the care of medical oncologist Dr P Guhan at the Ramakrishna Mission Hospital in Coimbatore. “We told Sivabalan’s parents that there was an 80% chance of recovery if he undergoes chemotherapy for 18 months. Since his father’s monthly income was less than Rs 4,000, the hospital’s trust sponsored his treatment for the first few months. For the last two times, his treatment was sponsored under the state health scheme. He will receive further treatment under the scheme,” he added.

The scheme was rolled out from June 23 last year after the state signed an MoU with Star Health Insurance. Since then, smart cards have been issued to more than 1.33 crore families who belong to the low income group. The state has earmarked Rs 517.307 crore in the first year to families whose annual income is less than Rs 72,000 and to members of the unorganised labour welfare boards. The treatment under the scheme has been made available at more than 500 hospitals, both private and government, across the state for up to Rs 1 lakh hospital expenses.

“So far, more than 1.5 lakh people have been treated at private and government hospitals under the scheme for various ailments,” health secretary V K Subburaj said.

Like Sivabalan, over 15 patients, who had undergone surgeries of the heart, abdominal organs and bone repair, thanked the government for the insurance that allowed them to seek treatment in private hospitals. Doctors from hospitals including Sri Ramachandra University, Lifeline, Chettinad Hospital and Billroth Hospital in Chennai, besides Ganga Hospitals, Coimbatore, Erode Cancer Institute and Narayana Hrudayalaya in Bangalore were given certificates of appreciation.

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