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Pune health activists to form group to curb cost of medical treatment

Rugn Adhikar Sanghatana (Patient Rights Group) to throw light and create awareness on problems faced by patients.

pune Updated: Mar 12, 2018 23:57 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Pune
pune,medical treatment,maharashtra
Umesh Chavan (third from left), health activist and founder of Adhar Arogya Foundation, during the press meet on Monday. (HT Photo)

Members of Adhar Arogya Foundation, an NGO which works to assist the poor in getting medical treatment, have come together to establish Rugn Adhikar Sanghatana (Patient Rights Group) to throw light and create awareness on problems faced by patients.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Umesh Chavan, health activist and founder of the NGO, said, “It has been observed that even with a lot of schemes available for poor patients, many people from economically weaker sections are going without treatment as they find cost of the treatment, medicines and injections unaffordable.”

Chavan said that with just one government hospital in the city, most patients are forced to go to private hospitals for better treatment, where they are charged exorbitantly and not treated well if they face difficulties paying the bills in time.

“We have a lot of volunteers who visit private hospitals to help poor patients with schemes available for them. It is seen that many private hospitals harass relatives of the patients for money. Presently, for treating a disease like malaria or swine flu, the cost ranges from Rs.14 lakh to Rs.20 lakh or more in private hospitals. Considering the rising cost of medical treatment, the cover of Rs.1 lakh given by Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to the needy families is very low and must be increased to Rs.2 lakh. Also, the Indigent Patients Fund (IPF) more often than not is unable to provide funds to patients,” said Chavan.

The chief minister’s relief fund also needs to be increased from Rs.3 lakh to Rs.5 lakh. We will fight for these through the Patient Rights Group which we are currently establishing,” he added.

Aadhar Arogya Foundation mainly works for people from economically weaker sections. The NGO organises health camps for children of beggars every week. It also works for women in the red light areas. Chavan said that women from red light areas are found addicted to a lot of substances and face health issues because of it. The foundation conducts regular medical camps for these women and provides certain medicines if required. The NGO is also conducts medical camps for transgenders.

Speaking at the press conference, advocate Vaishali Chandane said, “Even in a government hospital, like the Sassoon General Hospital, the treatment is not completely free and patients have to pay for X-rays or lab tests. It seems that even the public hospitals are moving towards privatisation which is sad.”

The members of the group have also demanded that the cost of medicines and injections, which are becoming costly, be controlled.

First Published: Mar 12, 2018 23:55 IST