Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram: Since June, 6,000 have availed free treatment at PGI
At present, around 100 JSSK beneficiaries, which include pregnant women, newborns and infants, are treated free of cost under the scheme on a daily basis
A jaundiced newborn boy, who has been admitted to the advanced paediatric centre at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) for over a month, has to undergo a slew of tests on a daily basis, which would rake up an exorbitant bill, except he is being treated free of cost under the central government’s Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK) scheme.
The boy’s mother, Preeti, 27, is a housewife, and his father works for a private company in Yamunanagar. “Our son has to repeatedly undergo a number of medical tests, including X-rays, ultrasounds, and blood tests. We would have had to pay thousands for his treatment at PGI,and lakhs had we moved him to a private facility, but thanks to the scheme, we are just spending on items such as diapers and wipes.”
At present, around 100 JSSK beneficiaries, which include pregnant women, newborns and infants, are treated free of cost under the scheme on a daily basis. Even complex heart surgeries in infants suffering from congenital heart disease, which cost around ₹2 lakh at PGIMER, are being performed free-of-cost.
“My three-month-old boy Harman has been suffering from an eye defect since birth. We have to visit the hospital regularly for treatment, but we have not had to spend a single penny on his treatment,” says Naitar Singh, a labour from Himachal Pradesh.
Since the launch of the scheme at PGIMER on June 23, around 6,000 pregnant women, newborns and infants up to the age of one, have been treated for free. Under the scheme, the beneficiaries can avail free deliveries, surgeries, drugs and consumables, diagnostics blood, transportation from home to hospital and vice-a-versa, and exemption from all hospital charges.
‘PGI procures medicines worth ₹2 crore to implement scheme’
The PGI administration is using hospital supplies for JSSK beneficiaries through pharmacy and hospital stores. However, the additional drugs and consumables, that are not available in hospital supplies, are being procured from the AMRIT Pharmacy. So far, the hospital has bought medicines worth ₹2 crore from the pharmacy.
‘No free facility in private rooms’
While the scheme has been a boon for patients from humble backgrounds, pregnant women have complained that they are charged for all facilities, if they opt for a private room. “We are ready to pay for the room, but diagnostics and medicines should be covered under the scheme,” a patient, who did not want to be named, said. Patients’ attendants claim that it takes days to get files approved. “Though beneficiaries have ‘pink-coloured’ files for differentiation, the process is quite slow,” they said.
‘Scheme launched after 11-year hiatus’
Though the scheme was launched at district hospitals across the country in 2011, it only came to PGIMER this year.
PGIMER’s official spokesperson and deputy director Kumar Gaurav Dhawan said, “Earlier, PGIMER was implementing the Mother & Child Care Initiative (MCCI), which catered to the beneficiaries of JSSK. However, the administration later felt that there was need to widen the scope of this initiative, and thus the central scheme was rolled out in June this year.”