Assam: Free liver transplant facility for poor children

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Guwahati, April 9: The government of Assam has announced that it will provide free liver transplant facility, besides other financial aids, to under-privileged children aged below 12 years. State health and family welfare minister Himanta Biswa Sarma made the announcement on Tuesday, said a report published in The Telegraph on Wednesday.

Sarma said the government would sign a memorandum of understanding with a leading hospital in the country to make the liver-transplant facility free for the children in the state. He said it will help save the lives of many children who have congenital liver problems.

The minister said currently Assam doesn't have the transplanting facility and the new facility will help children from below poverty line (BPL) facilities as well those from families whose annual income in within Rs 2.5 lakh. He said more children will be brought under the scheme gradually.

Sarma also announced other heatlthcare initiatives for children aged below 12, designed as Sneha Sparsh, including bone marrow transplant necessary to treat leukemia, thalassaemia and other rare types of haemoglobin defects. A bone marrow transplantation costs between Rs 12 to 15 lakh, depending on the facilities available at the treatment centre.

The minister said the government would provide assistance of Rs 10 lakh to those requiring the surgery. It would also provide Rs 1 lakh to children suffering from blood cancer and Rs 50,000 for surgerical procedures related to treatment of cancer.

The government would also provide Rs 3 lakh to those children who suffer from hearing ailment besides financial assistance to procure artificial limbs and treatment for eye, tumours and neurologial problems.

Parents of the children would not have to run to the health department officials to avail the benefits. They can meet the vice-principal and deputy superintendent of Gauhati Medical College and Hospital, Nirmal Bhattacharya and Abhijit Sharma, to get the assistance, said the report.

The schemes would come into effect from April 15, the first day of the Assamese New Year, Sarma said.

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