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HC asks AIIMS to provide treatment to minor suffering from rare disease

Justice Navin Chawla asked the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to provide the necessary treatment to the 11-year-old boy, a resident of Bihar, and directed the Ministry of Health and Family Services to reimburse the cost of treatment

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The Delhi High Court recently asked AIIMS to treat a minor who is suffering from severe aplastic anaemia and requires bone marrow transplant, and said the cost will be borne by the Centre.

Justice Navin Chawla asked the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to provide the necessary treatment to the 11-year-old boy, a resident of Bihar, and directed the Ministry of Health and Family Services to reimburse the cost of treatment.

The court listed the matter for further hearing on July 24.

It had earlier asked the ministry and AIIMS to respond to the minor’s petition who requires bone marrow transplant which is the only life-saving treatment for the disease.

The court was hearing a plea claiming lacunae in two major health-related schemes — Rashtriya Aarogya Nidhi and Ayushman Bharat — due to which patients suffering from life-threatening diseases are being deprived of monetary benefits to avail treatment.

In the petition filed through his mother, the minor has sought the court’s direction to the AIIMS to treat him with bone marrow transplantation which would cost around Rs 12 lakh.

Advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, appearing for the minor, has also sought direction to the Health Ministry to remove the lacunae which debars persons like the petitioner, suffering from deadly diseases involving transplant treatment, to avail benefits as provided under the Rashtriya Aarogya Nidhi (RAN) scheme.

The plea said that as per the rules, those who are covered under Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna cannot avail the benefits of RAN scheme.

Neither bone marrow transplant is covered under Ayushman Bharat scheme nor rules allow the petitioner to avail benefits of RAN scheme, due to which the child has been left with no option except to die, it alleged.

It sought to declare that both the schemes, RAN and Ayushman Bharat, compliment each other to help patients like the petitioner.

The plea said the court had brought in RAN scheme to provide financial assistance for medical treatments to patients belonging to the below poverty line (BPL) category, who are suffering from life-threatening diseases relating to the heart, kidney and liver, at government hospitals and super speciality facilities.

Under RAN scheme, the patient was eligible for maximum financial assistance of Rs 15 lakh.

Thereafter, the government launched Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna, which covers the poor and economically backward segment and gives insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh per family.

The plea said Ayushman Bharat scheme does not cover diseases which need transplant, that is, end stage renal disease, chronic kidney and liver disease, aplastic anaemia and cancer.

“However, at the same time RAN scheme, whose object is to provide one time financial assistance to poor patients living below threshold poverty line and suffering from life-threatening diseases relating to heart, kidney and liver…, is also denying financial assistance only because of superficial reason that family of the patient is covered under the Ayushman Bharat scheme,” it said.

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