ILAM, Jan 5: A few years back, the government initiated the Social Security Program from Ilam to educate people about the importance of health insurance. But still the number of people having health insurances is disappointingly low. Only nine percent people in the district have life insurance.
Demonstration programs for life insurance were conducted in Kailali, Baglung and Ilam. Only 27,000 people out of 2, 90,000 have health insurance in the district and 21,000 of them have already started using the service. According to Khem Adhikari, registrar at the Social Security Development Committee Office, those who don't have health insurance need to be made aware. He further said that more people have become aware about insurance in recent days. "We can get treatment cost cover of Rs50, 000 if we pay Rs2,500 a year. Bust still very few people are aware about this benefit," said Adhikari, adding, "However, the number is increasing day by day."
The government had introduced a plan to provide free health insurance to the poor but it is yet to be implemented. Meanwhile, Rong Rural Municipality of the district has announced to provide free health insurance to the underprivileged, marginalized, destitute and the disabled. Shamsher Rai, chairperson of Rong has already instructed the health workers to make a list of such people.
Those who filled their forms from June 29, 2016 to participate in the insurance program have started receiving the service from August 17, 2017. In order to provide health services to the service seekers, all doctors, staffers and health workers of District Hospital, Primary Health Centre are given two day training. Even though this program has turned out to be effective for locals, lack of manpower, equipment, medicines and health workers has been a great challenge for this. Unavailability of doctors in hospitals and health workers in health posts is affecting the service seekers.
The risk of non-communicable diseases is higher in comparison to communicable diseases. As per the details provided by National Health Education, Information and Communication Center, every year 60% people in Nepal and 80% in the world die of non-communicable diseases. A study conducted by Nepal Health Research Council in 14 villages showed that most of the people were suffering form diabetes, cancer, respiratory and heart diseases. Besides that, high blood pressure, obesity and cholesterol were also common in people.
Health insurance can be a great boon for poor people who cannot afford to treat their diseases on their own.