Facing severe fund crunch,the state government is considering to restrict free haemophilia treatment to only below poverty line (BPL) patients while restricting the subsidy to 50 per cent for others. However,considering the high cost of haemophilia treatment,even bearing 50 per cent cost will be difficult for most of the patients.
Haemophilia is a genetic disorder where the patients body lacks factors responsible for clotting of the blood. For treatment,the blood clotting factors are administered to the patients. On an average,a haemophiliacs treatment costs Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.5 lakh per year and in extreme cases it may go up to Rs 3 lakh to Rs 4 lakh.
Until now,all state medical colleges were given funds for free treatment of haemophiliacs. Now,instructions have been issued to them to send the data of BPL and other patients and estimated budget required for their treatment.
No decision regarding free treatment to only BPL haemophiliac patients has been taken yet. However,the data on BPL and other patients is being collected to decide the modalities of their treatment, said Dr D K Srivastava,Director General,Medical and Health.
Confirming that such data is not available as of now,Srivastava said that the exercise should not be very difficult as there are only 2,100-2,200 patients of haemophilia in the state.
Meanwhile,the proposed move has already creating apprehensions in haemophiliac patients. If they give only 50 per cent subsidy,my family will not be able to bear the cost of my treatment. I require factors at least twice a month , said Fakaruddin,a haemophiliac from Barabanki who comes to Lucknows SGPGI and KGMU for treatment. I will not be able to pay Rs 5,000 each time for the factor, he said.
Similarly,Lucknow resident Sudha Awasthi,whose 15-year-old son Divyanshu is haemophiliac,said,My son requires factors worth Rs 1 lakh each year. My husband and I are not in a position to pay even half of the treatment cost. We will be forced to see our son bleed if the state refuses to pay for his treatment.
However,with only around Rs 200 crore earmarked for health,the state government is facing constraints.
Sources in the health department said the state has written to the Centre to share the burden of treatment of haemophiliacs at least in those medical colleges that are funded by it,adding that the state is also exploring the idea of seeking funds under the
National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).
Meanwhile,due to audit objections raised in health departments budget,the state government is considering providing funds for haemophilia patients to division level hospitals rather than medical colleges,where the funds were provided till now.
Recently, the director general ordered for release of Rs 10 lakh each to SSPG District Hospital,Varanasi and Malkhan Singh District
Hospital,Aligarh,for haemophilia treatment.
After almost six months,the state government released Rs 2 crore to medical colleges. Prior to this,between January 2012 and January 2013,there was a delay of 11 months before the health department released fund for the purpose.