Cancer remains a leading cause of mortality in Kerala. Among children, though many types of cancer are curable today, the treatment is often prolonged and expensive. The patients and their families therefore face a dilemma -- the painful choice of cost versus care. Several families abandon treatment mid way, which also contributes to the high mortality rate. As per the estimate of Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, there are 800-850 new pediatric cancer patients every year.
Realising that cancer is curable among children and that there is an urgent need to support families which are `too poor to afford treatment’, the Government of Kerala has introduced the Cancer Suraksha Scheme on 1-11-2008. Under this scheme, children, under 18 years, would be given free treatment for cancer through designated Government hospitals in the state.
Children, under 18 years, who have been diagnosed with cancer either radiologically or on biopsy and are under treatment in the designated hospitals, shall be the beneficiaries. In case, the child completes 18 years during the course of treatment, then the benefits under the scheme shall be made available for a further period of one year.
The following will not be eligible
1. Children of State Govt/PSU's/ Central Govt employees.
2. All children covered under any medical insurance/mediclaim scheme.
3. Children in pay wards of designated hospitals.
HOSPITALS COVERED UNDER THE SCHEME
- Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram.
- Government Medical College Thiruvananthapuram.
- Sree AvitamThirunal (SAT) Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram
- Government Medical College Alapuzha.
- Government Medical College Kottayam.
- Government Medical College Thrissur.
- Government Medical College Kozhikode.
- Co-operative Medical College Pariyaram, Kannur.
- Malabar Cancer Centre, Thalassery, Kannur.
- Government General Hospital, Ernakulam.................................................................................... List of Beneficiaries
Amount of assistance
The entire cost of treatment, including the cost of investigations, would be borne by the hospitals through the funds provided by the Mission. The ceiling of expenditure per child would be initially Rs 50,000. However, the hospital can incur additional expenditure, based on the report of the committee comprising of the Oncologist/treating doctor, Head of the Radiology Department and the Superintendent, subject to ratification by the Mission.
Mode of assistance
Those patients found eligible would be registered under the scheme and a Patient Card would be issued. Registered patients would be provided treatment free of cost at the designated hospitals. On further verification, if it is found that any registered patient is ineligible for assistance, the assistance would be stopped forthwith.
To provide cashless transactions funds have already been deposited with the superintendents of the hospitals. The patients who are eligible for assistance would receive the benefit from these hospitals directly without approaching the Mission.