Full or partial aid for serious ailments

The government proposes to implement a new health insurance scheme in the State, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said.

The scheme is modelled on the Rajiv Arogyasri health insurance scheme implemented by the Andhra Pradesh government. Under it, full or partial financial assistance will be offered to those suffering from chronic and serious ailments.

Formally inaugurating the Bone Cancer Foundation, a venture launched by a group of doctors and orthopaedists in the city, here on Wednesday, Mr. Chandy said the government would bear the expenses for the surgery and orthopaedic implants required by bone cancer patients, a majority of whom were young children or youth in their 20s.

Mr. Chandy contacted the Social Welfare Minister from the function venue itself and requested that orders be issued on the provision of treatment expenses for children suffering from bone cancer. Mr. Chandy said once the insurance scheme was implemented, the children with bone cancer would be offered all treatment expenses under the scheme.

Plea for donations

He launched a signature campaign appealing for generous donations to help children with bone cancer by affixing the first signature. He also released the official brochure of the foundation.

Krishnan Nair, founder-director of the Regional Cancer Centre (RCC) and one of the patrons of the foundation, said that earlier, amputation of the limbs was the only option available for treating bone cancer-afflicted children but today, limb conservation surgeries offered these children excellent survival prospects. However, most of the children from poor families could not afford the treatment expenses that could be Rs.3.5 lakh or more, he said.

The foundation was launched early this year to provide treatment free of cost to children from poor families and take care of their rehabilitation.

Dr. Nair said nearly 250 to 300 new cases of bone cancer were reported every year in the State. The surgical treatment for bone cancers was complex, involving a team of orthopaedic surgeons, oncologists, and plastic surgeons. The cases referred by the RCC were surgically treated at SUT Hospital by a team of orthopaedic surgeons well-versed in limb conservation surgery. The team was led by K.C. Gopalakrishnan and Subin Sugath, both of whom head the foundation, he said.

The foundation has also been trying to create more awareness among physicians in the periphery of the early detection of bone cancers.

RCC Director Paul Sebastian released a documentary ‘Prathyasha' aimed at awareness generation. Government Medical College Principal Ramdas Pisharody launched the website of the foundation. Mr. Nair released a signature movie on bone cancers.