A total of 5,041 children with congenital heart problems have been offered free surgeries under a scheme launched by the Kerala government, in a bid to reduce the infant mortality rate in the state.
Of the total 1,002 children who underwent surgery under the ‘Hridyam’ program this year, 475 were infants under the age of one, state health minister Veena George said on Thursday. .
The program was designed to help children from birth to 18 years old. Even if an unborn child is diagnosed with heart disease, follow-up treatment from birth is provided free of charge through the initiative, the minister said here in a statement.
The cost of treatment and heart surgery for children, included in the plan, is covered by the government.
“Eight out of 1,000 children suffer from heart disease. Of these, 50% of children need treatment. Many children need surgery,” said George, stressing the importance of the program.
Noting that the “Hridyam” program was also launched with the participation of the private sector, she said that up to 9 public and private hospitals have been formed for the project.
The government’s current goal is to expand the program to help more children, she said, adding that follow-up treatment of registered beneficiaries is also being provided.
A follow-up support program has been initiated for the physical, mental and intellectual growth and development of these children.
The aim is to ensure the growth and progress of children with the help of district early intervention centers and nurses under the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) programme, the minister said.
Those in need of the free surgery should register under hridyam.kerala.gov.in and more details can be obtained by contacting Disha toll free number 1056.
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