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Government Proposes to Include Multiple Sclerosis in Ayushman Bharat

The government is planning to introduce a centralize data management system which would help in keeping a track on the population of disable people, type of disability and work effectively to provide facilities to the beneficiaries and the authorities will be able to access this centralize data from anywhere.

Announcing this at a function in New Delhi to commemorate World Multiple Sclerosis Day, organised by the Multiple Sclerosis Society of India (MSSI), Mr.  K. Vikram Simha Rao, Director, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India said, “There is a dire need of representation of Persons with Disability (PWD) at the government level so that more disabilities can be included in the disability act and more schemes can be introduced & benefits can be passed on to the PWDs. 

Mr.Rao also informed that “Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities has extended its proposal of including Multiple Sclerosis along with 20 other disabilities in the Ayushman Bharat – Health Insurance Scheme so that MS patients can avail the central government’s health scheme; this would help a MS patient to be self-reliant to an extent.”

MS is an autoimmune disease in which body’s immune system starts damaging the protective layer of the nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. There has been a considerable shift in MS prevalence in India and this has really changed the notion of considering India as a low risk zone for MS. In India, significant upsurge is needed in carrying out large scale population-based epidemiological studies to get an idea about the true incidence and prevalence rates of MS viz a viz disease burden.

World Multiple Sclerosis Day is aimed to raise awareness and understanding about Multiple Sclerosis (MS) among the general public, employers and government officials.

Calling for more research into effective treatments and practical ways to improve quality of life for people with the illness, MSSI has said there is an urgent need for the private and public sector to support multiple sclerosis organizations and patient groups, by investing in them and developing their capacity, ensure improved diagnosis and treatment, and increased access of information and resources for all. It is imperative to work together with policy makers to make treatments more affordable, either directly or through wider reimbursement by insurance or government, it said,

Dr. Kameshwar Prasad, Head of the Department of Neurology at AIIMS, said “A lot of research needs to be done on MS. Earlier when MRI was not available, it was hard to detect MS and it used to be considered as a rare disease but, post MRI introduction it has helped doctors diagnose MS occurrence in patient more effectively. MS is physically as well as emotionally draining illness that impacts both the patient and their families – demanding a lot of psychological strength. MS affects the patient’s mind, will-power, employment and disrupts life on the family/ friends front as well. It is about time that organizations such as MSSI, private institutions and government come together to undertake research so that preventive measures can be taken and collaboratively work towards providing affordable MS generic drugs to the patient.”

Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. In India MS is targeting children’s as well starting from the age of 16 years. As per the last study conducted in India was 2003-04 there were 200,000 reported patients were affected with MS. Post that, no study was conducted on this and it is believed that this figure must have gone up by 2 to 4 folds which could be 10 percent of world’s total Multiple Sclerosis patients.

Mr. T.D. Dhariyal, Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Govt. of NCT of Delhi, said “In these years we have noticed that the most common problem that PWDs face is the ease of accessibility. A lot of awareness needs to be created for MS and organizations like MSSI should come forward and lead the awareness creating campaign.  We are dedicated towards making Delhi the most accessible city, whether it’s related to providing facilities to MS patients, giving employment, care and allowance as well. In some cases, we have taken suo motu action and made sure that PWDs are treated equally, and their rights are rightly served.”

Multiple Sclerosis Society of India is the oldest society in India dedicated to help people affected by Multiple Sclerosis effectively manage and cope with the disease. 

By TIS Staffer
the authorBy TIS Staffer

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