Thalassemia patients buying filters for ‘free’ treatment in Faridkot govt hospital | punjab | bhatinda | Hindustan Times
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Thalassemia patients buying filters for ‘free’ treatment in Faridkot govt hospital

For six months now, Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital, Faridkot, has failed to procure filters for blood transfusion in children with Thalassemia; 50 such patients are to be treated for free under a Central scheme.

punjab Updated: Nov 09, 2017 11:56 IST
Gagandeep Jassowal
The Centre sponsors the treatment of these patients under the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK), yet the hospital is unable to extend the benefit to these patients.
The Centre sponsors the treatment of these patients under the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK), yet the hospital is unable to extend the benefit to these patients.(Shutterstock)

Administrative laxity on the part of Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital, Faridkot, in procuring filters for blood transfusions has meant that families of minor patients of Thalassemia, a congenital blood disorder, have been buying it out of their pocket for the past six months. This is even as 50 poor patients are registered with the hospital for free treatment, with the Centre bearing the cost. Patients come from Faridkot, Ferozepur, Muktsar Sahib, Moga and Bathinda districts visit the hospital for treatment.

The equipment, technically called a ‘Leukoreduction filter set’, costs Rs 800 and the hospital has been out of stock of the device for over six months. On average, a patient requires a blood transfusion every 21 days.

“Companies are not supplying blood filters at the old rates. The new rates are high. We are making efforts to procure the filter at the minimum-possible rates.” — Dr Deepak J Bhatty, Faridkot hospital principal

The Centre sponsors the treatment of these patients under the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK), yet the hospital is unable to extend the benefit to these patients.

Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) is an initiative of the Centre aiming at early identification and early intervention for children from birth to 18 years to cover the four ‘D’s viz Defects at birth, Deficiencies, Diseases, Development delays including disability. The Centre sponsors treatment costs.

HT visited the paediatrics ward at the hospital to take stock of the situation and found that patients of the minor patients, who are poor and thus registered under the RBSK, are angry at having to share the financial burden of treatment.

“I have a Below-Poverty-Line (BPL) card made. Yet, we are made to buy the filter set from the market. Doctors tells us that we have to buy the set or the treatment is not possible,” a relative of a minor patient says.

Dr Deepak J Bhatty, principal, Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital, Faridkot, said, “Companies are not supplying blood filters at the old rates. The new rates are high. We are making efforts to procure the filter at the minimum-possible rates.”