Patients of spinal injury demand allowance

Kathmandu, May 27

Spinal injury patients staged a sit-in at Maitighar Mandala today demanding that the government provide them monthly allowance.

More than 100 patients participated in the demonstrations, demanding that the decision taken by the previous government to provide livelihood allowance to spinal injury patients be implemented.

“The government’s policies and programmes too does not mention anything about distribution of monthly allowances to spinal injury patients. As we face difficulty in our daily lives, we request the government to support us,” said Devi Acharya, co-ordinator of Spinal Cord Injury Struggle Committee.

The distribution of monthly livelihood allowance of Rs 5,000 to patients suffering from kidney failure, cancer and paralysis due to spinal injury remains halted with the government failing to release fund to hospitals across the country.

The government started providing Rs 5,000 monthly livelihood allowance to patients suffering from kidney failure, cancer and paralysis due to spinal injury since January 26, 2018. The then prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba inaugurating the programme had handed cheques worth Rs 5,000 each to 27 such patients receiving treatment at Bir Hospital and National Trauma Centre.

The Ministry of Health had said that the budget necessary for distributing monthly allowance to the patients would be collected from Health Security Tax. The Cabinet meeting on December 28, 2017 had decided to provide additional Rs 5,000 to patients suffering from life-threatening diseases.

The government has been providing financial assistance of Rs 100,000 each to such patients from Poverty Stricken Citizens Fund. The fund was established after the second people’s movement to provide financial assistance to people 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 received financial assistance for the treatment of these diseases from 74 hospitals across the country in the fiscal 2016-17.

Nineteen hospitals across the country have submitted the details of the patients to Health Service Directorate, which mentions that there are 77 patients of paralysis due to spinal injury, 803 cancer patients and more than 500 kidney failure patients seeking monthly livelihood allowance of Rs 5,000.

“We are yet to pay Rs 70 crore to hospitals. We lack money to provide monthly allowance to the patients,” said Prakash Ghimire, paramedic at Health Service Directorate.