Eighteen years after we had started Tribal Health Initiative, we had thought that we had seen and met most tribals in the area. But when the registrations opened for the Old Age Health Insurance Scheme, we saw several new faces among the 502 old tribals whose names went on our list. Of these, 196 were men and 304 were women.
The novel scheme required a senior citizen to register under the scheme and pay an annual sum of Rs 30. For that nominal amount, the tribal could avail monthly checkups and free healthcare as an outpatient. The scheme became a huge success, with almost all the senior tribals in the area registering for it.
From February last year to the end of 2010, there were 16 tribals under the scheme who got admitted as in-patients. There were a total of 2056 out-patient visits. Some came in even twice a month too.
Most people came in with age-related problems, hypertension, aching joints, arthritis and infections. Some of them, incredibly, came in just to talk! With either no one at home or no one to give them time and attention, the scheme became an outlet for several people to come and complain of aching joints and slower limbs!
Here are some numbers:
Particulars— Number of tribals—Money spent on them (in Rs)
Total IP visits —16— 11,370
Total OP visits— 2056— 1,30,000
The scheme was a stupendous success, in that it gave quality healthcare at a very nominal rate to the elderly. The scheme is now in the second year. We intend to extend it also to those non-tribals in the area who are in genuine need of subsidized healthcare. The deserving non-tribals will be registered only if they meet certain criteria.
In its first crucial year of inception and development, we had tremendous support and encouragement from you all. Thank you. We trust it shall remain with us for all our upcoming projects.