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Indian Express
18 February 2011
By Anuradha Mascarenhas

City Anchor Haemophiliacs Don’t get aid as in up, Karnataka, Bihar; Injection Costs are High
AN annual medical bill of Rs 10 lakh stares Ashok Kate, 56, in the face, and it’s only the cost of AHF injections. A tumour has complicated the condition of Kate at YCM Hospital and he requires 100 injections, costing Rs 10,000 each, for surgery.

"Government hospitals do not provide this expensive treatment free and I have no medical insurance as this is a pre–existing disease," says Kate who had to resign from his job at Adivasi Vikas Mahamandal in Shahapur. "My daughter has no funds for her nursing course in Miraj. My son is unemployed."

No aid is available at any government hospital despite repeated appeals to the state govern ment. An RTI query by the Haemophilia Society of Maharashtra (HSM) confirmed treatment was not available at government hospitals. Anil Lalwani, president of the Pune chapter of HSM, says he has been trying to raise funds from international organisations. "We have 600 registered haemophiliacs in our chapter and we support them with funds for AHF injections. During emergencies like the Kate is facing, we cannot raise so much money to fund his surgery."

Lalwani, a haemophiliac, who had to undergo knee replacement surgery in 2004, had filed a PIL in Delhi HC as a member of the Haemophiliac Federation of India and had got free surgery at a government hospital there. Physician Dr Mohan Lahade says similar initiatives are available in Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Bihar and these include AHF injections at government hospitals. "Kate was referred to my hospital, but he requires 100 injections and the cost is prohibitive."

Lahade says haemophilia is a disorder in which one of the essential blood–clotting factor is deficient. Haemophilia A, or classical Haemophilia, is the most common form wherein factor VII (8) is deficient while Haemophilia B is owing to deficiency of factor IX (9). Bleeding is mostly internal and may occur spontaneously.

Treatment involves injection of the missing clotting factor. Doctors at Sassoon General Hospital say most patients are treated with frozen plasma they cannot afford the injection. Lalwani says state health authorities should provide free treatment in view of the seriousness of the problem and the presence of over 15,000 patients in the state.

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