ROURKELA: Surgery for congenital heart disease among minors is a costly affair and often beyond the reach of the poor. However, Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RSBK) has helped several poor children get treated for ailments including life-threatening ones. Nine-year-old Mukesh Kujur and 11-year-old Tulashi Kisan stand testimony to the success of the initiative of Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Both Mukesh and Tulashi, whose parents work as daily labourers, underwent costly surgical interventions for congenital heart disease at BM Narayan Multi-Specialty Hospital, Jamshedpur three months back.
Mukesh’s parents, Rabi and Rajani and Tulashi’s parents, Gopal and Sashi said costly surgeries were beyond their imagination. The district administration of Sundargarh has been implementing the initiative aimed at providing free treatment to such children, successfully and it has come as a godsend for the poor.
A fresh initiative undertaken in the district under RBSK is free treatment for new-born babies for Retinopathy Of Prematurity (ROP). Sundargarh Chief District Medical & Public Health Officer (CDM&PHO) Dr SK Mishra said premature new-borns weighing less than two kg during birth and availing treatment at Sick Neonatal Critical Unit (SNCU) run the risk of contracting ROP which if not treated early may lead to total blindness. He said depending on the severity of heart diseases, several of those provided treatment under the scheme would not have lived longer than eight to 10 years.
“Those managing to live with less severe heart diseases would become liabilities for their patients and society with physical disabilities and complications,” he said. Children needing treatment for heart diseases are identified through various screening camps and as per their conditions referred for surgeries and advanced treatment. RBSK Manager Prasanta Parija said over the last five years, 125 children aged between six months and 18 years have been covered with free surgeries for heart conditions. As many as 100 such children were treated in the last two years alone.
He said about 30 more children have been identified for cardiac surgeries at a host of reputed RBSK accredited hospitals across the country. The minimum cost of surgery is around `3 lakh which may go up to `19 lakh. The average cost of each heart surgery is around `5 lakh. Parija said as many as 98 new-born babies have been screened for ROP and 12 of them need immediate critical care. Eight babies aged below three weeks were on Monday admitted to LVPEI, Bhubaneswar for emergency treatment and care.
The Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, under the National Health Mission launched the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK), an innovative and ambitious initiative, which envisages Child Health Screening and Early Intervention Services, a systemic approach of early identification and link to care, support and treatment.