Free medicines, tests soon for dementia patients: Nadda

(L-R) Ajit Bhide, president, Indian Psychiatric Society; Meera Pattabiraman, chairperson, Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India; K Kasturirangan, former chairman, ISRO; Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda; state Health Minister Shivanand Patil; Paola Barbarino, CEO, Alzheimer’s Disease International; and Radha S Murthy, vice-chairperson, ARDSI, at an international  seminar on dementia in Bengaluru on Friday.  (DH PHOTO/B H Shivakumar)

Free medicines and diagnostic tests will soon be available to patients with dementia as part of an action plan being worked out by the Centre, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare J P Nadda said here on Friday. 

The action plan became necessary after experts pointed out that dementia was not on the list of diseases to be covered under Ayushman Bharat, the Centre’s healthcare scheme to be rolled out on September 23. “Soon, there will be drugs to postpone the onset of dementia. The Indian Council of Medical Research and other organisations are working on these formulations,” Nadda said at Dementia 2018, an international symposium. 

He also spoke about converting the 1.5 lakh sub-centres under the Ayushman Bharat into wellness centres to provide geriatric care. “The plan is to include geriatric care. We will also be providing screening for diabetes and hypertension so that diseases are identified early,” he said.  

Karnataka Health Minister Shivanand S Patil said he was unaware that dementia was not on the list of diseases covered under the state’s health insurance scheme but added that both the Centre and the state must look into it. 

K Kasturirangan, former chairman, ISRO, lamented the absence of a comprehensive scheme either at the state or central level for patients with dementia. "I urge the health minister to emulate the Kerala model with necessary localisation and implement it," he said.

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Free medicines, tests soon for dementia patients: Nadda

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