Kathmandu, December 15
The Ministry of Health has proposed to provide a monthly financial assistance of Rs 5,000 to poverty-stricken patients of cancer, kidney and spinal injury. The next Cabinet meeting is likely to discuss the proposal.
“Patients who are receiving treatment for these diseases won’t be able to work to make an income. As they can’t earn money to buy food and medicines, which is vital for their health, the ministry has come up with the proposal,” said Dr Bholaram Shrestha, chief of the Curative Service Division at the Ministry of Health.
Financial assistance will be given to those seeking free dialysis service, cancer patients and those suffering from paralysis due to spinal injury. Those patients who have already received Rs 100,000 will also get additional assistance, said Dr Shrestha. “The money will be collected in the Health Security Fund through Health Security Tax. An additional tax will be levied on alcohol and cigarettes and patients to raise money for the fund.”
“The additional assistance will also help maintain a record of patients suffering from these diseases. If the proposal is passed, the health ministry will require Rs 78 crore in the current fiscal for providing financial assistance to such patients,” he added
In the fiscal 2016-17, 4,271 people have received haemodylasis service, 142 kidney transplants have been performed and 198 patients are under medication after kidney transplant. 8,643 patients have received assistance for cancer treatment in the fiscal, according to the health ministry.
Poverty Stricken Citizens Fund was established after the second people’s movement to provide financial assistance to poverty-striken patients suffering from life-threatening diseases. Cardiovascular diseases, cancer, renal failure, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, head and spinal injury, sickle cell anaemia and stroke are covered under this programme. A total of 17,471 new and old patients have taken financial assistance for the treatment of these diseases.
A version of this article appears in print on December 16, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.