Acute-case patients to get Rs 5,000 livelihood allowance

Published On: December 29, 2017 07:41 AM NPT By: Bishnu Prasad Aryal

Adds Rs 3.3 billion to annual burden

KATHMANDU, Dec 29: The government has taken a decision to provide Rs 5,000 monthly to each patient suffering from dual-kidney failure, cancer or spinal injury.

The new provision will  require a further outlay of Rs 3.3 billion annually.

The cabinet meeting held on Thursday decided to provide an additional Rs 5,000 monthly to  patients suffering  dual-kidney failure, cancer or spinal injury. As a result, an expenditure of additional billions will be required, said  senior officials at the Ministry of Health (MoH).  The government has allocated Rs 46 billion for MoH in the current fiscal year.

Currently, the government provides treatment services to patients suffering from 12 different kinds of disease including cancer, renal failure, Alzheimer’s, spinal injury and coronary ailment. Each of these patients gets free treatment  worth Rs 100,000 if they belong to  poor and indigent communities . The Rs 100,000 ceiling does not  apply to patients requiring kidney dialysis. They get free dialysis at all times.

The government spends more than a billion annually for these services, according to  MoH. “Patients suffering from three diseases, namely double-kidney failure, cancer or spinal injury, will receive an additional Rs 5,000 monthly as livelihood allowance,” said Dr Shree Krishna Giri, spokesman at MoH. “The new decision will become effective from the current fiscal year,” he added.

According to  data at the BP Koirala Memorial Cancer Hospital, Bharatpur there are  currently more than 50,000 cancer patients in the country.

Although the country has no accurate and disaggregated data on cancer patients and cancer deaths, roughly 30,000-35,000 more people in Nepal are affected by cancer every year, according to statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Each year more than 3,000 people suffer from renal failure and over 90 percent of them die within a few months, according to  government sources.

The Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Center (SIRC) at Sanga  found a total of 381 spinal injury patients in a study carried out in 2011. This number has certainly increased owing to  traffic accidents and the increasing population, said  MoH officials. 

A WHO report says that among the estimated 14,000 injuries  resulting friom the April 2015  earthquake, which  has so far resulted in 6,200 recorded fatalities, approximately 1 in 3 cases ( around 4,700) will require follow-up rehabilitation treatment. Of this number, approximately 12 percent have damage to the spinal cord.

Outgoing cabinet takes vital decisions
The Council of Ministers on Thursday took some decisions at a time when a new government is about to take over  shortly.

The cabinet decided to appoint Dr Pushpa Chaudhari as  secretary at the Ministry of Health. Chaudhari became officiating secretary at the ministry after Secretary Dr Kiran Regmi retired about a month ago.

Similarly, the cabinet decided to provide Rs 5,000 monthly  to renal, cancer and spinal injury patients as a livelihood allowance, said Finance Minister Gyanendra Bahadur Karki.

The meeting also approved a World Bank loan of Rs 6.21 billion for the second phase  project in vocational education and training orientation. Likewise, the cabinet accepted grants of Rs 1.04 billion provided by the South Korean government for a research and development center at Kathmandu University.

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