Funds shortage keeping thalassemia patients out of aid scheme

‘Samashwasam’ programme provides financial help to eligible patients

June 28, 2021 10:46 pm | Updated 10:46 pm IST - KOZHIKODE

Shortage of funds is reported to be the reason behind keeping thalassaemia patients out of the ambit of the Kerala Social Security Mission’s ‘Samashwasam’ scheme to provide financial help to poor people.

Eligible patients are given ₹2,000 a month under the scheme. According to sources, only sickle cell anaemia and haemophilia have been included in the category of common blood disorders though thalassaemia, a condition when the body doesn’t make the protein called haemoglobin, an important component of red blood cells, is considered a fatal disease as well. This condition leads to weak functioning and shorter life span of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all cells of the body.

Kareem Karassery, functionary of the Blood Patients Protection Council, Kerala, claimed that the fatal nature of the disorder leads to frequent hospitalisation of the patients and high cost of treatment. He claimed that they were forced to depend on hospitals at least every two weeks.

He said that the Union government had included thalassemia, sickle cell anaemia, and haemophilia in the disability category according to the Right of Persons With Disabilities Act, 2016. When the Left Democratic Front government led by V.S. Achuthanandan launched the “Thalolam” scheme for the free treatment of kids suffering from severe diseases, all the above three were included on the list of common blood disorders.

Mission officials have reportedly told council functionaries that they are facing shortage of funds. Mr. Karassery claimed that even the financial help for sickle cell anaemia and haemophilia patients were delayed quite often. The council functionaries have sent representations to Thawar Chand Gehlot, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, and R. Bindu, State Minister for Social Justice, seeking their intervention in the issue.

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