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Tuesday, Mar 18, 2003

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Health insurance scheme will be a success: Sushma

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THE Union Minister for Medical, Health and Parliamentary Affairs, Ms Sushma Swaraj, has expressed confidence that the new health insurance scheme announced by the Finance Minister in his Budget would "do very well".

The Minister told newspersons here on Monday that the insurance scheme was community-based and for the first time non-Governmental organisations were involved in the programme. The NGO's could take a commission of 10 per cent for handling the insurance cases.

She said that the scheme had also envisaged payment of up to Rs 25,000 in case of accidents and up to Rs 30,000 in case of other ailments. For a period of 15 days, the man-days lost due to sickness would be compensated at a rate of Rs 50 per day. The Union Government would subsidise the premium of Rs 100 for people living below the poverty line.

Ms. Swaraj said that a renewed thrust would be given for eradication of polio from the country. There had been resurgence of about 200 polio cases in some of the districts of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh recently and a very intensive polio eradication campaign was launched in these areas last month.

Health workers resorted to house-to-house administration of polio drops for a period of five days continuously.

The Union Minister had commended the Andhra Pradesh Government for taking a lead in the implementation of both the Central and State Government health schemes. The State was also a leader in application of information technology in the health sector. The pilot programme of storing data on a palmtop in Nalgonda district in the State would go a long way in computerisation of the entire data pertaining to health.

"The only area of worry has been the growing HIV-AIDS cases. However, I am happy to see that there is a drastic drop in the number of such cases", she added.

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