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‘Let HIV positive people avail Manipur Illness Assistance Fund’

By EMN Updated: Jan 28, 2014 11:28 pm

IMPHAL, January 28

[dropcap]A [/dropcap]day-long State level consultation on improving access to treatment of Hepatitis C (Hep-C) under the Manipur State Illness Assistance Fund (MSIAF) on Tuesday recommended that HIV positive people and those who are ART be included in the eligibility criteria for accessing benefits under the scheme.The consultation organised by the Community Network for Empowerment (CoNE) and the state health services directorate was attended by representatives of TREAT Asia/amfAR, Bangkok, UN AIDS International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC), South Asia, Medicine Sans Frontier (MSF), community-based organisations and pharma companies Merck, Zydus.
Speaking on the occasion, Additional Director Dr S Mema Devi of the Public Health Service, state health services directorate said that the treatment of Hep-C was included under MSIAF from October 2013.
“The amount does not actually cover the whole amount incurred by the patient family at the time of treating the patient,” says Dr Mema. “Out of the total number of patients who applied for re-imbursement under MSIAF, 14% are Hep-C patients.”
Altogether around 202 patients excluding any Hep-C patients received the benefit of MSIAF in 2012-13, according to Deputy Director W Khoibi Devi also from the state health services directorate.
But this time, a total of 203 patients including 29 Hep-C patients have applied for medical reimbursement under MSIAF in 2013-14.Their has been sent to for approval to the Management Committee ,she added.Patients belonging to BPL family with an annual income of Rs 25,000 will be entitled one time assistance upto a maximum of Rs 1.5 lakh as reimbursement of cost incurred in treatment of major ailments. Treatment of Hep-C costs around Rs 3-4 lakh.
The ailments eligible for receiving assistance under MSIAF scheme are cardiology & cardiac surgery; cancer; urology; nephrology; gastroenterology; orthopaedics; all major surgeries and medical investigations, ophthalmology, dentistry, ENT etc.
“We’re trying to approach the concerned parties to look into the cost factor of the Hep-C treatment”, says President RK Nolinikanta of CoNE. “Because the government sponsored HIV/AIDS control programme in the country does not cover issues relating to Hep-C”.
Sharing a similar sentiment, Loon Gangte of New Delhi based ITPC said the authority are not aware of risk factor of people living with HIV as Hep-C co-infection is on the rise as HIV/AIDS intervention programme in the country was framed through the lens of HIV/AIDS only.
Fifteen percent of the 34 million people living with HIV/AIDS across the world have Hep-C coinfection, according Giten Khwairakpam of Bangkok based TREAT Asia/amfAR.

By EMN Updated: Jan 28, 2014 11:28:05 pm