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Bonanza for patients
Published on 30 Aug. 2009 12:53 AM IST
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Patients admitted to government hospitals in Assam will receive a day cash allowance of up to Rs.100 besides free meals and medicines, an official said Saturday. The bonanza will be for those who get treated in medical college hospitals and other district health centres under a Rs.50 million Assam government scheme. As part of the scheme named ‘Maram’ (Assamese for love), a patient in medical college hospitals will receive Rs.100 daily in cash while those in district hospitals will get Rs.75. The scheme will start Sep 15. “This is undoubtedly the first such scheme in the country. It is aimed at providing financial relief to patients,” Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told IANS. Patients in government hospitals will also be entitled to free medicines and food, he said. “The cash will be handed over to the patient every night by the hospital staff for a maximum period of seven days,” the minister said. “Patients admitted with serious illness and requiring extended stay in hospitals will be assessed on a case-to-case basis. If deemed fit we shall continue to pay them the daily allowance.” Sarma said the idea was to ease the financial burden of patients admitted to government hospitals. “A patient admitted to a hospital on an average spends about Rs.500 per day, buying medicines not available in the stores, or on attendants. Our financial assistance will provide some relief,” Sarma said. Earlier this year, the Assam government announced a series of novel health packages including a Rs.1.8 billion scheme to do away with the traditional gender bias by offering financial assistance to the girl child and radical measures to improving the health of would-be mothers. Under a scheme named ‘Majoni’ (Assamese for little girls), a new-born girl child would be given a fixed deposit instrument worth Rs.5,000 while a would-be mother would get Rs.1,000 in cash - Rs.500 each during the first two check-ups. “Half the fixed deposit of Rs.5,000 can be encashed by the girl when she attains the age of 16 and the full amount when she turns 18,” the minister said. Assam has also launched an ambitious family planning scheme. Couples choosing not to have babies for two years after marriage will get Rs.5,000 and those who opt not to have children for three years will get Rs.7,500.

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