Free screening camps would be conducted on the tenth of every month at GMCH and five other state run medical college hospitals Credit: Representational Image

Guwahati: The Assam state government has launched a special scheme “Snehasparsha” for providing free treatment to children below the age of 12 for a variety of ailments.

Announcing the scheme on Saturday at the Gauhati Medical College Hospital (GMCH), state health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that free screening camps would be conducted on the tenth of every month at GMCH and five other state-run medical college hospitals to detect children suffering from four ailments namely, congenital heart disease, liver and kidney ailments and blood cancer. After the screening, a list would be made of children who are in need of heart surgery; liver, kidney and bone-marrow transplants.

Sarma speaking at a function organised by the National Health Mission (NHM) on Saturday, expressed his delight to have already completed 7689 congenital heart defect surgeries, 5 liver transplants and 50 bone marrow transplants free-of-cost for children below 12 years.

“The State Government has decided to provide more such free treatment to children; and has asked the medical colleges to conduct free screening camps every month. All children irrespective of their financial backgrounds will receive the free treatment. Children will be sent outside on a priority basis considering their urgency of treatment. The government will have to spend several crores for the treatment,” he added.

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On the first day itself, a total of 185 children got registered for screening of which 122 cases of thalassemia; 3 suffering from blood cancer; 3 in need of liver transplant and 10 for kidney transplant were detected.

The minister further mentioned that despite state government providing for free treatment to people of all age groups, it has given the health of children and youths the top priority as they are ones who hold the future of Assam. Sarma also informed that 3,662 persons have benefitted from the Assam Arogya Nidhi (AAN) scheme. Under the AAN initiative, financial assistance is provided of up to Rs 1.50 lakh to below poverty line households and to families who earn less than Rs 10,000 a month for treatment of life-threatening ailments.

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