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.