Thiruvananthapuram: Even as Kerala continues to top the COVID charts in India, the state has bagged three awards for excellence in the healthcare sector from the central government.
In the inaugural Aarogya Manthan session that gave away the Ayushman Awards for Excellence, Kerala secured the top place among states that provided the highest free treatment between October 2020 and August 2021.
Kerala was adjudged winner of the 'State with Best Hospitalisation Rate' award by Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Mansukh Mandaviya, in an online event.
The Government Medical College Hospital, Kottayam was announced as the winner of 'Top-performing Public Hospital' in the country.
Kerala also secured an individual award through Aswathy A of the TD Medical College Hospital at Vandanam in Alappuzha, who finished in third place in the category of 'top-performing operator'.
Health Minister Veena George said that the awards were recognition for Kerala's great work done through the Karunya Arogya Suraksha Padhathi (KAPS).
"In the last three years, two crore free treatments were provided through the scheme in the country, of which, 27.5 lakh (13.66%) was Kerala's contribution," Veena George said.
The minister noted that a State Health Agency (SHA) under the health ministry was set up for the implementation of KAPS.
"The SHA has made a great contribution to coordinate the COVID treatment through private hospitals during this pandemic period. Even COVID patients referred by government hospitals to the private sector got the benefit of KAPS," said the minister.
According to Veena George, the state bears the entire cost of free treatment accorded through the Karunya Benevolent Fund (KBF). The state claims that a family is offered free treatment for up to Rs 5 lakh per year through KAPS and Rs 2 lakh for a lifetime under KBF.
"All families that have an annual income under Rs 3 lakh and which are not part of KAPS will get the benefit of KBF. At present, this scheme is available at 192 government hospitals and 569 private hospitals in Kerala," said the minister.