10,307 patients have benefitted till date from scheme launched in 2012

The Karunya Benevolent Fund, the State government’s flagship social welfare scheme, is all set to scale great heights with Finance Minister K.M. Mani announcing new plans for the programme that has entered its second year of operation.

Mr. Mani, who was instrumental in conceiving and promoting the scheme, has every reason to look back with satisfaction at the performance of the scheme, under which 10,307 patients belonging to the weaker section received financial assistance to the tune of Rs.110.62 crore as on March 21.

For the second year, Mr. Mani announced relaxation of norms for assistance for certain types of diseases, besides promising the increase in the number of draws for the Karunya Lottery to increase the corpus of the fund. The payment would be linked to the procedures related to various diseases.

The fund, which was established with the revenue from the sale of Karunya lotteries, was officially launched by Union Defence Minister A.K. Antony on February 26, 2012, mainly to provide assistance to poor patients for their medical treatment.

Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, Mr. Mani said the norms would be relaxed for haemophilia patients in the event of one or more members of a family were suffering from the disease in view of the heavy medical expenses that such families would have to incur.

Accordingly, each family member suffering from this hereditary disease will get Rs.2 lakh each for medical treatment, he said.

Another major decision he announced was with regard to the inclusion of peritoneal dialysis in the treatment package for kidney disease. The Kerala Medical Services Corporation will make available the equipment and medicines for this. The Minister said the construction of Karunya Dialysis Centres at the Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode Medical College Hospitals was nearing completion. Three more centres, with 10 dialysis machines, would be established at the Alappuzha, Thrissur, and Kottayam Medical College Hospitals. The total cost for this has been estimated to be Rs.2.9 crore.

In order to help patients who were to undergo urgent surgeries in government hospitals, it had been decided to accept applications for assistance at the respective district lottery offices after 48 hours of the surgery. Earlier, the time limit was 24 hours. However, the doctor’s certificate was mandatory in such cases, he said.

Giving the break up, Mr. Mani said Rs.13.92 crore had been distributed to 1,235 patients in Thiruvananthapuram district.

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