The Association for Welfare, Education and Socio-cultural Service has so far brought monetary benefits to 927 patients.

An initiative by a voluntary agency to help the chronically-ill patients get government’s financial assistance to undergo expensive medical treatment has turned out to be a blessing to hundreds of patients in the hill ranges of Kozhikode district.

The Association for Welfare, Education and Socio-cultural Service (Awass) based in Thiruvambady, which is spearheading the movement to bring benefits of government’s welfare programmes for the sick, has so far brought monetary benefits to 927 patients.

Altogether financial assistance to the tune of Rs.68.42 lakh was disbursed since Awass began its activities in December 2011. The beneficiaries were mainly poor patients from Thiruvambadi, Kooderanji, Karassery, Mukkom, Puthuppadi, Kodencherry, Omassery, Thamarassery, and Kodiyathur grama panchayats.

Awass volunteers had to travel to remote settlements of Scheduled Tribes to locate patients in need of financial help. Medical camps were also organised with the support of local social workers and palliative care volunteers to identify deserving patients.

Applications for financial help for treatment collected from patients are sent by Awass to the Central and State government agencies concerned through M.K. Raghavan and M.I. Shanawas, MPs, and C. Moieenkutty, MLA. Awass volunteers were shocked to find large amount of money earmarked to provide financial help to poor patients were lying unutilised. “Public awareness about these benefits is surprisingly low and the procedures for applying for the benefit are also not known to the poor who need financial help for treatment,” said Sundaran A. Pranavam, secretary, Awass.

Funds were available, among other agencies, from the Department of ST Development, Ministry of Health, Society for Medical Assistants to the Poor, Asha Kiran, Cochlear Implantation Scheme, Snehasparsam, Karunya Benevolent Fund, Prime Minister’s Relief Fund, and Union government’s Dr. Ambedkar Medical Aid Scheme.

At a function held recently, funds to the tune of Rs.6.32 lakh for 62 patients were handed over to the beneficiary patients.

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