Former Indian president A P J Abdul Kalam launched the Rajiv Arogyasri (RA) scheme and the 108 free emergency response service yesterday, at Hyderabad.
The Arogyasri scheme is said to be a combination of emergency services, medical consultancy and medical insurance. According to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy the scheme would help avoid a 'debt trap'.
"A serious medical condition could cost up to Rs 2 lakh, and unable to bear the burden, heads of several families commit suicide. Through this scheme that debt trap can be avoided," Reddy was quoted.
Accordingly, all white cardholders are eligible to be covered by this scheme. The 1.8 crore white card holders in the state form 82.5 per cent of the population. "These people will receive the best medical care from emergency to health consultation and providing treatment at a corporate hospital," the CM said. In due course, the emergency number 100 would be included in the 108 services.
A helpline number for the Health Management and Research Institute (HMRI), 104, was also launched. The test call at the inaugural function took a comic turn as the resource person at the HMRI call center asked the Chief Minister for his name and age. The audience burst out laughing and those on the dais joined in.
The former President congratulated the government and Satyam for the initiative. Kalam also made some suggestions: "We need to create a decentralized National Emergency Management Mission. The structure of public-private partnership adopted in Andhra Pradesh is exemplary and may be emulated by all other states," he said.