Kozhikode: People who have not enrolled for the free medical insurance programme of the Kerala government will not be eligible for free medical treatment for COVID-19. The move has come as a bolt from the blue for poor people, especially when the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is on. Now they need to spend from their pocket to buy costly medicines meant for seriously ill COVID-19 patients.
Hospitals have been intimated on the government decision, dated January 8.
The decision pertains to the state health care scheme called Karunya Arogya Suraksha Paddhati (KASP) that provides a health cover of Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation. Over 42 lakh poor and vulnerable families comprising 64 lakh members are the intended beneficiaries.
In view of the pandemic even those who had not opted for the insurance scheme were allowed free treatment. Besides government hospitals, some private hospitals had also come forward to provide free COVID-19 treatment as part of the KASP during the first wave of the pandemic in 2020. During the second wave in 2021 more hospitals joined.
All 108 ambulances to run 24/7
The Kerala Medical Services Corporation Limited (KMSCL) has withdrawn its decision to reduce the working hours of 108 ambulances to 12 hours. All 316 ambulances in the 108 series will be available 24/7.
Though all such ambulances functioned 24/7 during the first and second wave of COVID-19, this was discontinued in November 2021. Malayala Manorama had reported on the issue.