Karnataka set to have comprehensive policy to help burns victims

It is likely to be taken up in the November session of legislature: Health Minister

Published - October 04, 2017 12:13 am IST - Bengaluru

The State may soon become the first in the country to have a separate comprehensive policy for victims of burns. The policy, which will incorporate insurance, housing, rehabilitation, employment and other welfare measures including pension for burns victims, is likely to be taken up in the November session of the State legislature.

The draft policy for prevention and treatment of burns and rehabilitation and empowerment of women who have suffered burn injuries has been jointly formulated by the State Health Department in association with Vimochana, a NGO working with burns victims for the last 20 years.

More welfare measures

Health Minister K.R. Ramesh Kumar, who discussed the objectives and operational strategies of the policy with members of Vimochana, plastic surgeons and legal experts on Tuesday, suggested that more welfare measures be incorporated in the policy.

Moved by the plight of a few victims, who narrated the problems they faced in society and demanded better facilities and help from the government, the Minister suggested that the policy should not only look at streamlining treatment and providing quality care but should also consider the overall welfare of the victims.

“I have asked the members of Vimochana to submit a proposal soon incorporating all these aspects, to the Principal Secretary (Health and Family Welfare). We can have another round of discussions and finalise the policy. I will try to convince the Chief Minister about the need for such a policy,” Mr. Kumar told The Hindu .

He also suggested that child psychologists specialised in trauma care should be appointed in hospitals that have burns wards. “I feel the statement of the victim’s child is most important as he/she would have been witness to the circumstances. We need a child psychologist in burns wards to counsel children and help them give a statement,” he said.

Donna Fernandes and Satya K. of Vimochana, who spearheaded the discussion, spoke on the need for a comprehensive policy.

Pointing out that women dying owing to homicidal and abetted suicide burns is increasing by the day, Ms. Fernandes said nearly 50 women die every month owing to burns. “A majority of the cases are associated with domestic violence. Providing an environment equitable in opportunities to heal and capacitate them is essential. There is a need to bring in a policy to create wider awareness regarding such crimes,” she said.

Vimochana’s report titled ‘Surviving burns with care: A gender-based analysis of burns epidemiology in Bengaluru and challenges to the health system’ brought out last year had documented burn injury records spanning two decades. It revealed that the number of women who suffered burn injuries from 2001 to 2011 was 60% higher than men.

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