Representative Pic
Representative Pic

Given the rising incidence of mucormycosis in the state, treatment for this fungal infection mostly seen in Covid-19 survivors will be covered under the Centre’s Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) and the state government’s Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Jan Arogya Yojana (MJPJAY) in Maharashtra. Families covered under these schemes will get health cover of up to Rs 1.50 lakh, said the state government in a notification issued on Tuesday. The scheme will be in force till September 30, 2021.

Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, who holds the finance and planning portfolio, has announced that the required funds of Rs 30 crore have been made available to provide insurance cover to eligible patients under the MJPJAY.According to the notification, 11 surgical packages and eight medical packages will be offered for mucormycosis patients. Additionally, the State Health Guarantee Society will bear costs up to Rs 5 lakh.

“Anti-fungal medicines are costly and currently, there is a shortage. Every district’s civil surgeon will manage the stock availability and its distribution,” said State Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope. He added that the chief executive officer of the State Health Guarantee Society would have to ensure that the hospitals shortlisted under MJPJAY did not incur unnecessary financial burden by re-examining all the matters before reimbursing the cost. Tope said the entire responsibility would be on the concerned district surgeon.

“The incidence of mucormycosis is on the rise in the state and there is a need for the services of multidisciplinary specialists. The cost of this is high and in order to spare patients of the burden of expenses, all eligible citizens admitted in the shortlisted hospital will be covered under the MJPJAY,” Tope said.

“The treatment protocol includes application of anti-fungal medicines but these are currently in short supply and are costly. These drugs in accordance with the stipulated rules should be made available by the concerned authorities. These drugs will be made available free of cost to the eligible patients under the MJPJAY,” he noted.

He had said earlier that there were around 1,500-2000 cases in the state. According to the public health department sources, at least 52 persons have died of mucormycosis in the state since the outbreak of the pandemic last year.

Leading ENT surgeon Dr Ashesh Bhumkar, who participated at the virtual meeting of doctors chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Sunday, said over 100 ENT surgeons across the state will be trained across the state to perform debridement surgeries on those mucormycosis patients who need operations to remove the fungal growth and this procedure will be followed up with antifungal treatment. He however urged the CM to ensure adequate supply of the antifungal drug Amphotericin B.

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