Aadhaar must to get funds under government’s tuberculosis programme
Mumbai city news: A notification issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on June 16, said that cash assistance scheme under the RNTCP will only be applicable for those who apply for Aadhaar enrolment by 31/08/2017mumbai Updated: Jun 22, 2017 00:11 IST
The government has made it mandatory for all tuberculosis (TB) patients and health-care personnel to produce Aadhaar cards to get financial assistance under the government-run Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP).
TB is a major public health concern in India. In 2015, there were 28 lakh new cases reported in India and 4,78,000 deaths.
The 12-digit identification number on the Aadhaar card will be linked to Nikshay — a web application used to register and track TB patients. A notification issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on June 16, said that cash assistance scheme under the RNTCP will only be applicable for those who apply for Aadhaar enrolment by 31/08/2017.
“The move is to ensure that the cash is transferred directly into the accounts of registered patients and health workers and that there is no duplication,” said Dr Sunil Khaparde, deputy director-general of central TB division.
TB advocacy groups have, however, expressed concern about the implementation of the move at ground level. Blessina Kumar, chief-executive officer of Global Coalition of TB Activists, said that she was worried as the move could become a hurdle for some patients from access TB treatment and care. “The move is well intended as the incentives will go directly to the patient and health workers but there are already reports that patients are being forced to get Aadhaar cards on their next visit to the Directly Observed Treatment, Short-Course (DOTS) centres,” she said.
She added that immigrants, who are not eligible for Aadhaar, may be turned away from treatment. However Dr Khaparde said that the move will not affect access to treatment.
At present, only tribal TB patients get monetary incentives under RNTCP, however, there is a pending proposal, which will provide Rs 3,000 to every TB patient who is treated.
India accounts for more than one quarter of the world’s TB cases and deaths. The figures have had a major impact on global estimates, said a 2016 report by the World Health Organisation.