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Finding affordable cancer care

Finding affordable cancer care

The financial status of the family and the cancer patient becomes the primary aspect that overshadows the cancer treatment of a patient. Apart from the economic struggle, the question of whether the treatment is easily accessible to the patient comes into the picture. If the treatment is not readily available, the transportation, staying, and other basic, necessary costs add to the cost of the treatment. This further affects the financial status of the patient and the family, who have to take upon the burden of dealing with finances, in addition to the stress of the treatment. 

Cancer, a disease previously only prevalent in developed countries, is now seen more commonly in developing countries too. According to Global Burden of Disease (GBD) estimates, nearly 70% of all cancer deaths now occur in low- and middle-income nations. Given that early detection accounts for a large portion of cancer survival, access to cutting-edge medical technology is a significant policy concern for low- and middle-income nations. For developing countries like India, the problem is exacerbated by a lack of geographical coverage of medical services and a lack of financial protection in the health sector.

With the private sectors in India having more access to health care facilities than the public sectors, the healthcare system needs to make cancer care more affordable since the poorer households rely on it for the majority. 

Financial aid in India

Though statistics suggest that the cancer patients and their financial status in India is disproportionate and needs immense improvement, there are several foundations and NGOs, along with government schemes, that can aid poor cancer patients in their journey through cancer. The primary aim of these organisations and schemes is to make sure the patients get the necessary financial support that they require so that they focus more on their health and less on the source of their income. 

Can Care

Can Care is a non-profit organisation that provides relief and care to poor and vulnerable cancer patients. They are a volunteer-run organisation whose mission is to help poor and needy cancer patients with financial aid, medication, and diagnostics. They also intend to improve the quality of life for cancer patients and reduce cancer in specific areas through public awareness initiatives. Their goal is to address the cancer issue among disadvantaged patients from every angle, including cancer prevention through education and cancer awareness camps that lead to early detection. Financial aid covers all medications, tests, and surgeries. Counselling, emotional support, and financial assistance are provided to patients. As a result, your mind will be less strained.

Cancer Aid and Research Foundation

The Cancer Aid & Research Foundation is an Indian non-profit organisation. It is a registered medical non-profit organisation that was founded in 2001 with the honest intention to help people living with cancer, regardless of religion or caste. For almost a decade, they’ve been reaching out to disadvantaged and poor cancer patients across India, and they’ve earned the trust of many low-income families who turn to them for financial assistance. Thousands of people have received treatment and are now able to live everyday lives. The foundation’s goals and objectives are to provide ongoing financial service to people with cancer as well as the impoverished and needy in their society. “We live by the concept of offering as much aid to impoverished cancer patients as possible, believing that they should not perish due to a lack of funds.”

Dr Reddy’s Program for patients

The patients’ Program by Dr Reddy Sparsh is a financial assistance programme for low-income cancer patients. Sparsh is a patient assistance programme that helps financially disadvantaged persons continue their chemotherapy treatment. The sector also helps those who are afflicted not only by the disease but also by the high treatment costs. Patients can text the word ‘help’ to 54646, phone 1800-233-9126 toll-free, or visit www.Hairaware.Co. By texting ‘help’ to 54646, they can be referred to dermatologists in their area and obtain proper medical advice. CHEER (Compliance Program for Chronic Kidney Disease Patients Committed to Helping, Educating, and Encouraging Renal Patients) is a support programme for chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients to improve medication adherence.

The effort impacts every aspect of patients’ life, including providing financial assistance to help them better understand and manage their illness. Patients who have been enrolled are encouraged to adopt modest nutritional and dietary changes to assist them in coping with the emotional stress that often overwhelms them. Mitr is a lifestyle support programme for cancer patients. Mitr is a toll-free helpline that offers confidential psychological and emotional assistance to cancer patients. Patients are likely to experience stress, worry, and concern as a result of the diagnosis or therapy. A few initiatives of Dr Reddy’s Program For Patients; Awareness For Life – Lifestyle diseases awareness program for corporates Save The Gen Next – Anti-tobacco drive Roshni – Diabetes awareness initiative

 The Health Minister’s Discretionary Grants (HMDG)

It is a type of scheme that provides financial assistance of up to Rs 50,000 to impoverished cancer patients who cannot get medical care at government institutions. Only cancer patients with a yearly income of less than Rs.1.25,000 are eligible for financial help covering up to 70% of the entire expenditure.

The Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS)

This applies to retired employees of the Central Government and their dependents. In June 2011, one private hospital in Hyderabad and ten private hospitals in Delhi were registered under the CGHS to provide better cancer treatment services to CGHS clients, primarily for cancer treatment at Tata Memorial Hospital’s rates for cancer surgery. Patients are entitled to receive cancer treatment at approved rates in any hospital that offers a variety of cancer treatment choices.

Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF)

It primarily strives to provide financial assistance to low-income people for disease treatment at Government/PMNRF-designated institutions, intending to cover the costs partially. The patients are eligible for financial support if they apply to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is solely responsible for disbursements, considering the availability of finances and the PMNRF’s past obligations. It is available to victims of natural disasters and includes partial coverage for heart surgeries, kidney transplants, cancer treatment, and other procedures.

Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) scheme or Ayushman Bharat Yojana (AB-PMJAY scheme)

It is referred to as the Government of India’s flagship National Health Protection Scheme. It is also known as the Ayushman Bharat Yojana and intends to cover up to 50 crore Indian individuals living in rural and urban areas. It is one of the most extensive government-sponsored healthcare programmes in India. The Ayushman Bharat Yojana (AB-PMJAY) will assist underprivileged families in receiving the best healthcare services by providing insurance coverage of up to INR 5 lakh per family per year for tertiary and secondary hospitalisation expenses such as diagnostic costs, medical treatment, hospitalisation, pre-existing illnesses, and a variety of critical conditions. It allows its beneficiaries to receive cashless healthcare services in both public and private facilities.

 State Illness Assistance Fund (SIAF)

It is primarily integrated for the establishment of the Illness Assistance Fund in specified states and union territories, which provides coverage of up to Rs. 1 lakh for cancer treatment at government hospitals inside the state. Many states are opposed to the scheme, while others are in favour of it.

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