Special Correspondent

Free treatment for children with cancer

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State government is launching the Kerala Social Security Mission to provide health care and social security to the destitute, the poor, the aged, children, women and those with cancer.

The mission, which will have a corpus of Rs.65 crore, will strive to revamp institutions under the Social Welfare Department to make them more useful to the weaker sections, create facilities for distribution of food free to the poor undergoing treatment in government hospitals and rehabilitate patients discharged from hospitals who have nowhere to go, Health and Social Welfare Minister P.K. Sreemathy told a news conference here on Tuesday.

Describing the scheme as the first of its kind in India, the Minister said the mission would deposit Rs.1 crore with the Regional Cancer Centre here to provide free treatment to children with cancer. Steps would be taken to ensure that the rich did not appropriate the benefit of the scheme. The government had earmarked a corpus of Rs.15 crore for free cancer care to patients aged below 16.

The Minister, who was accompanied by Health Secretary Usha Titus, said it would be possible to provide assistance from the scheme within the coming fortnight.

She said a base kitchen would be set up at the Government Medical College Hospital, Kozhikode, to provide food to poor patients and those accompanying them. The mission would create an information database on social security schemes in operation in the State.

Welfare of the aged

She said the Central Act on the aged took effect in the State on September 24. The government would soon appoint maintenance officers and constitute a tribunal as stipulated in the Act. Health camps would be conducted in old-age homes and the poor living there would be provided spectacles and reading material free.

The Minister said the Social Welfare Department would organise a ‘mass walk’ in the capital on Wednesday to create awareness of the need to protect the aged. Sports and Youth Affairs Minister M. Vijayakumar would flag off the walk.