Health Minister Aravind Limbavali on Sunday said the Vajpayee Arogyashree Scheme (VAS) will be extended to Bidar, Bijapur and a few other districts soon.
“After discussing with hospitals in cities such as Solapur and Hyderabad, that are closer to our borders, we will make sure that the people living in these towns have access to the medical facilities without having to come all the way to Bangalore.”
At the launch of the Bangalore Division of the VAS, Limbavali said the scheme will soon cover more diseases and procedures.
Limbavali appealed to medical students and specialists in the state to consider offering their services in rural areas.
“There aren’t enough specialists in these areas because specialists are not willing to extend their services to these sections. This deprives the rural poor of tertiary treatment and speciality consultation,” Limbavali added.
Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar said that `40 crore was allotted for the VAS in 2011-12 and this year, the government will spend Rs 70 crore on the scheme. He said the government is also taking steps to start government medical colleges in seven districts, which do not have government or private medical colleges.
Under the VAS, Below Poverty Line (BPL) families can avail tertiary medical treatment including hospitalisation, surgery and therapies. The scheme covers seven diseases and over 400 procedures. Cardiovascular diseases, Cancer Treatment (Surgery, Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy), Neurological diseases, Renal diseases, Burns, polytrauma cases (Not covered by Motor vehicle insurance) and neonatal cases are the diseases included in the scheme.
Under the scheme, medical expenses up to Rs 1.5 lakh will be borne by government. The scheme was launched two years ago in Gulbarga and has 106 network hospitals throughout the state.