Karnataka government provides hemophiliacs with the injections that they need at no cost – saving them money.
Hemophilia patients spend between Rs 5,000 to Rs 1.5 lakhs for their treatment of hemophilia. Karnataka, under its scheme Free Treatment facilities to Identified Diseases, have started giving free drugs to the hemophilia patients since the past two years.
“It is termed as rich man’s disease, but many Below Poverty Line (BPL) patients also suffer,” says Manjunath of the Hemophilia Society Bangalore Chapter, a Non-Profit Organization. This chapter treats around 1,064 enrolled patients and provides them with subsidized factors and other associated treatments that they need. It also arranges awareness programmes for the parents of the patients.
Anand, a father of a seven year old says, “Before, every time my son used to get injured, I had to spend around Rs. 40-50,000, but now, Victoria Government hospital is providing factor injection for free, so we feel relieved.”
B.Sreenivas, a college student who suffers from hemophilia says, “All are now going to Victoria hospital for free medicines.”
Student and patient, Mohammad Fassi says, every time he gets hurt, he has to spend anything between Rs.1,500 to 10,000, depending on the severity of bleeding. He says, “Private hospitals used to cost me a lot so we prefer NGO and government hospitals”. He added that, “It’s just not the factors that they have to pay for, their joints also get damaged and they need to take physiotherapy courses. I cannot lift heavy weight, because that leads to bleeding for me as my joints are very week, and I have to take injections,” he added.
“Factor 8 and Factor 9 are required for hemophilia patients. These factors are given as injections when they bleed. Each unit of factor costs Rs. 13, and on average, a patient requires a minimum of 250 units and up to 1,500 units, depending on their body weight,” says Manjunath. The Annual report of Hemophilia Federation India states that more men suffer from the disease. In India, currently 20,727 patients suffer from hemophilia among which 20,099 are males.
Dr. Siju K Paul, a physiotherapist of the Hemophilia Society Bangalore Chapter tells what hemophilia is and how it affects people. He says hemophilia is a rare condition where the patients lack proteins required for bleeding, and hence have to be injected with factors which are namely factor 8 and factor 9.
“These factors are very costly, so sometimes patients have to spend a lot of money depending on their body weight. He says, “Sometimes patients develop inhibitor to the factor 8 and the treatment costs will then be very high.”
He added, “Hemophilia patients also need psycho-social rehabilitation and physiotherapy to strengthen their joints. For some families this cost is unaffordable, so by constant lobbying with the government, the factor required for hemophilia is now available in all the district hospitals of Karnataka.”