THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Hundreds of haemophilia patients in the state pin their hopes on the 2020-21 budget which will be presented by Finance Minister TM Thomas Isaac on Friday. They expect that their repeated demands to allocate a specified amount for treatment and medicine will come as a budgetary announcement this time. Haemophilia is a rare disorder in which blood doesn’t clot normally because of lack of sufficient blood-clotting proteins (clotting factors). It could be life-threatening if internal bleeding occurs.
“It was under the Karunya Benevolent Fund (KBF) scheme that haemophilia patients received medicines free of cost. But that scheme has been discontinued. Considering ours as a special case, it was decided that status quo will be maintained till March 31. We hope the budget will announce a new programme for us,” said Jimmy Manuel of Haemophilia Society of Kerala. According to him, if there is a specified amount under a budgetary head, the occasional scarcity of anti-haemophilic factor (AHF) vials in the state could be addressed.
The government owes huge dues to the company that supplies AHF in the state. This is what disrupts distribution of AHF, he said. As per sources, there is a possibility that the government might expand the Karunya Arogya Suraksha Paddhathi (KASP), which was launched after merging all other existing schemes, including KBF, so as to include special cases like haemophilia, sickle cell anaemia, and thalassemia. For its inclusion, KASP Plus scheme is likely to be launched.
Answering to the submission of M Vincent, MLA, in the assembly on Thursday, Health Minister K K Shailaja said that as the current treatment plan for haemophilia patients was set to be wound up by March 31, it will be ensured that they continue to avail the benefits under the newly launched KASP. “A total of 1,058 patients have been registered under the KBF. Vials worth Rs 2.75 crore are provided to patients every month. Since the inclusion of treatment plan under KBF, vials worth Rs 84.11 crore have been distributed till date,” she said. Vincent said that as KASP was an insurance scheme that stipulates 24 hours admission clause, a provision should be made for the immediate availability of vials.
The minister has promised that a special treatment protocol will be made outside the KASP if needed, he said.