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Times of India
17 April 2012
By Umesh Isalkar
Pune India
Little Progress On GR Issued In 2000; Govt Pins Hope On National Rural Health Mission
Today is Haemophilia Day

A 12–year–old state government resolution to provide free blood, blood factor and treatment to patients suffering from haemophilia, a blood clotting deficiency, has remained on paper.

Except for KEM Hospital in Mumbai, there is no diagnostic facility in the government set–up to detect haemophilia andextendtreatmentleaving an estimated 10,000 haemophilics in Maharashtra without support, health experts and activists, said.

"The state government's resolution (GR) on January 5, 2000 had categorically stated that blood, blood factor and treatment should be given free to patients of haemophilia. But nothing has moved for the past 12 years," said paediatrician Sunil Lohade, vice–president of Haemophilia Care Centre at Lohade Hospital in Chinchwad. Anil Lalwani, ex–president of Haemophilia Federation of India, said they have been frequently raising the non–implementation of this GR. " Whenever we approach authorities for its implementation, they make false promises," he said.

State health minister Suresh Shetty was sure of getting financial assistancefor haemophilia throughNational Rural Health Mission (NRHM). "We have proposed a concrete financial allocation for haemophilia in this year's programme implementation plan (PIP) for NRHM which has been submitted to Union government."

As for the GR not being implemented, Shetty said, "I will check the reasons and why it was not implemented." A haemophilic has no blood factor VIII or IX. This deficiency prevents proper clotting mechanism and causes uninterrupted and recurrent bleeding episodes. Such a patient requires anti–haemophila factor (AHF) injection tocontrolbleeding."Theblood factor injection is very expensive and beyond the reach of nearly 90 % of the patients. Hence, government support is essential," Lalwani said.

Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, Karnataka, Delhi and Goa have been providing free blood factor injections to patientswithhaemophilia,expertssaid.

"Around 70 to 80 severe haemophilia patients become physically disabled due to repeated bleeding in the joints by the time they reach puberty. Disability is a very expensive on the government. By providing free blood factor injections to patients with severe haemophilia, we can reduce bleeding episodes and thereby reduce disability and morbidity," Lohade said.

Support of polio prevention, which can lead to disability if ignored, has state support. Haemophilia needs the same attention, experts said.

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