Free lunch for kin attending to poor patients in govt hospitals

The government now wants NGOs and philanthropists to serve midday meals to relatives attending to Below Poverty Line (BPL) and Above Poverty Line (APL) patients in state-run hospitals.

The Health Department has roped in Snehalaya, a non-profit organisation, to serve midday meals to family members attending to patients at Wenlock Hospital in Mangaluru on a pilot basis. If this is successful, the same model will be replicated in all the districts, Health Minister U T Khader on Friday. At present, food is served only to patients at government hospitals, but family members attending to them go hungry as they cannot afford meals, he said.

In another initiative to help the poor, the department has launched ‘Shraddhanjali’ under which NGOs will be asked to transport bodies of the dead belonging to APL and BPL families, from government hospitals to their homes. Khader said that APL families would be charged a nominal fee while the service would be free for BPL families. As the department is purchasing 150 new ambulances, the old vehicles will be diverted to districts. If this happens, the NGOs will just have to provide for the driver and transportation charges.

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