Arogyasri Comes in Handy for BPL Families Troubled Hearts
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05 July 2010
By Bushra Baseerat
Cardiac Diseases Top The List Of Spendings Of Argoyasri Budget
The fact that cardiac diseases are not restricted to the rich alone is now established in Arogyasri records. Arogyasri Healthcare Trust is pumping in a lion’s share of its Rs 1,200 crore budget towards treatment of cardiac diseases afflicting below poverty line (BPL) families across the state.
In fact, in the last three years and four months of the trust’s existence, a whopping Rs 594.12 crore have gone into treatment of cardiac and cardiothoracic diseases as on date. A total 88,592 people falling under below poverty line were treated for heart ailments under this community health insurance scheme.
“Heart disease is not just related to lifestyle anymore. The highest allocation of the trust’s budget is going for heart–related problems. Moreover, the average treatment cost for heart diseases is much more than any other disease,” says Babu Ahmed, CEO, Arogyasri Healthcare Trust.
The trust covers around eight crore people in the state, dealing with a total of 12,000 patients a day in camps and through the 339 hospitals listed with it.
Until Arogyasri came into being, there were no health records available with the state to indicate the burden faced by the BPL citizens due to various diseases. Thus, the Arogyasri data has come as an eye–opener for many.
“While in urban areas, eight per cent of the population aged above 50 years is prone to heart disease, in rural areas, it is six per cent. It is a misconception that there were negligible number of heart disease cases in rural areas. With the entry of television even in remote areas, the population now prefers to ‘watch’ rather than play,” says Dr Sunil Kapoor, cardiologist, Care Hospital.
While cardiac cases cost Arogyasri the most, the number of oncology cases are much higher. As many as 1.2 lakh fresh cases of cancer are being reported each year from the state. Though the cases are uniformly distributed across the state, 50 per cent of them are being treated in Hyderabad. Babu Ahmed says that in the wake of inadequate infrastructure, the state is able to cater to just 40,000 of the cancer cases.“Rest of them are dying and nobody is bothered,” says Ahmed.
Cancer patients top Arogyasri’s list of patients for the 952 procedures offered by the scheme with a massive 1,35,508 surgeries/therapies related to cancer performed in various hospitals till date. Dr Samba Sivaiah, chief of oncology, Global Hospital, says that cases of cervical cancer among women and stomach cancer among men are adding to the cancer load in the state. Specialists say that at least six palliative care centres for dealing with cancer patients are required in the state more so in rural areas.
Following cancer and heart diseases, which are the top two categories milking the scheme, are cases of polytrauma, urology, general surgery and neurosurgery among others.
Experts say that similar to the haemodialysis centres started by Arogyasri trust in most parts of the state, specific interventions are required for trauma and neurotrauma patients.