Free healthcare for children with hole in heart

Guwahati: The Assam government has
announced free healthcare for children having hole in the
heart, in probably the first such move in the country.

"To be launched next month the scheme is unique and
probably for the first time in the country aimed at providing
free treatment to a child born with a hole in the heart, which
is quite common", a state health department official said here

The entire cost of the treatment starting from surgery
to medicines will be borne by the government for which an
agreement has been signed with the Narayana Hrudayalaya
Hospital of Bangalore at the initiative of Health Minister Dr
Himanta Biswa Sarma.

The hospital will provide a concessional package for
the entire treatment while the government will bear the cost
of travel and lodging of the patient along with his or her
guardian, the official said.

The initial screening of children will be soon held at
the Guwahati Medical College Hospital here after which the
modalities for sending them to Bangalore will be deided.

Initially the government had targetted about 300
children throughout the state, as the symptom was very common
in this part of the country, at a cost of Rs three crore.

Stating that the identification process was cumbersome
as children were suffering from the disease in the remote
villages, the official said experienced para medical staff
will be deployed for the purpose.

One good thing about the scheme was that suspected
patients needed not travel all the way to Bangalore to confirm
their disease as doctors from the hospital will come over to
the medical college here for examination.

On September 18, 2009, Operation Smile, a worldwide
children’s medical charity, feted Assam Chief Minister Tarun
Gogoi in recognition of his establishing a public private
partnership among `Operation Smile`, the Assam government and
the Tata group to create the first cleft-free state in India.


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