KATHMANDU, Jan 26: The government started distributing Rs 5,000 each to patients with serious illnesses including kidney failure, cancer and spinal injury from Thursday.
Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba handed over checks worth the amount to 21 patients at Bir Hospital and the National Trauma Center in Kathmandu amidst a gathering on Thursday.
According to the Ministry of Health (MoH), the cabinet meeting held on December 28 decided to provide Rs 5,000 each to the renal patients of both-kidney failure, cancer and spinal injury every month. There are about 16,000 patients of such critical diseases in the country.
The government has been providing treatment services to patients of 12 diseases including cancer, renal dialysis, Alzheimer's, spinal injury and coronary problems. Each such patient belonging to the poor and indigent communities gets free treatment services worth Rs 100,000 from the government. Similarly, kidney patients get free dialysis.
The government bears more than Rs 1 billion annually for these services, according to the MoH. The tax collected from tobacco products will be used to pay the patients, said MoH officials. The government has allocated Rs 46 billion for the MoH in the current fiscal year.
According to the data of BP Koirala Memorial Cancer Hospital, Bharatpur, Chitwan, currently there are more than 50,000 cancer patients in the country.
Although the country has no accurate and disaggregated data of cancer patients including annual incidents of cancer-caused deaths, roughly 30,000-35,000 new cancer patients are being afflicted from the disease every year in Nepal, according to the statistics of 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), Sanga (Banepa) found a total of 381 spinal injury patients in a study carried out in 2011. The number has certainly increased now, according to MoH officials. “The number of patients having these diseases is increasing every year. Billions of rupees will be additionally required to provide services to them,” they say.
A WHO report says that among the estimated 14,000 injuries incurred as a result of the April 25 earthquake, which measured 7.8 on the Richter scale and has so far resulted in 6,200 recorded fatalities, approximately 1 in 3 (or around 4,700) will require follow-up rehabilitation treatment. Of this number, approximately 12 percent have spinal injuries.