Thiruvananthapuram: Fund crunch hits under-18 free care

This year we didn’t get any allotment for the Arogya Kiranam scheme: Official.

Thiruvananthapuram: The ‘Arogya Kiranam’ scheme meant to provide free treatment to the children in the state is ailing. Launched way back in 2013 by the then UDF government to give health care to children under the age of 18 irrespective of APL and BPL divide, the scheme is struggling as the state government has not set apart dedicated funds for it in this years’ budget.

“This year we didn’t get any allotment for the Arogya Kiranam scheme. However, the state government hasn’t officially stalled the project and hence we have to continue it. The hospital management committees of hea-lth care institutions owe huge sums to the Kerala Medical Services Corporation Ltd (KMSCL),” said an official.

It is learnt that the KMSCL has sent demand notices to all hospital management committees to settle the dues for the medicines purchased under the scheme. The state government had launched the scheme along with the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Kiranam (RBSK) of National Health Mission (NHM) — which covers only 30 health conditions of the students. “The Kerala government formulated this scheme to cover more health issues among the children. The state normally hands over the funds to NHM at respective districts to cover the expenses,” said the official.

As per the scheme, the state government will take up total responsibility of the health of all children in the state under the age of 18 at government hospitals and provide them free medical care for all chronic diseases, including cancer, heart and other disorders.

A top official said that there were regulations in the treasury for releasing funds. “We haven’t stalled any scheme. We submit bills at the treasury and there is some regulation in the release of funds. We transfer the fund to the hospitals to a common pool which is used for various purposes,” said the official.

There are over 1,300 health institutions in the state which include major hospitals and primary and community health centres.

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