Sunday, April 21, 2019 | ePaper

Families of poor diabetic patients in vulnerable conditions

Social Welfare Department of BIRDEM helps 72000 patients, large numbers out of the help

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Reza Mahmud :
Abul Kalam Azad, a diabetic patient came from Shariatpur for treatment at BIRDEM General Hospital in Shahbagh Dhaka free of cost, as he was unable to bear huge expenditure.
"I needed Tk 1000 to 1500 every month for my treatment in first few years. After seven years, my treatment expenditure increased by more than Tk 8000 per month. It is because I need insulin and other precious medicines, as I have many more complexities with diabetes," said Abul Kalam Azad.
Kalam, aged about 50, said, he is the only earning person of his family of five members. His income source is agriculture. He produces paddy, jute and vegetables.
His only son is a candidate for HSC examination from a local college.
His parents also need medicines regularly for their old age complexities.
But he is unable to bear all of his expenditures of the family, especially due to higher cost for his diabetes treatment.
"Price of insulin is increasing. The other medicines' price is also high. I am anxious at every moment as to how can I live with such a burden expenditure of life," he said.
Kalam said, physicians from BIRDEM General Hospital sent him to Social Welfare Department of the hospital for free treatment.
Officials from the Social Welfare Department of BIRDEM told The New Nation that everyday many patients come to them asking for subsidies in treatment.

The department is helping regularly a good number of poor diabetic  patients.
 "We are helping 72,000 poor diabetic patients of different categories everyday. Some of them are getting free insulin and other medicines and free treatment in BIRDEM if needed. Some of them are getting half or quarter free insulin, medicines and treatment as per their financial conditions," Quazi Rashidul Haque, Deputy Director, BIRDEM, (Social Welfare Department) told The New Nation.
He said, 100 to 120 new poor patients also get support every month.
On the other hand, a small number of patients also are deducted from the free treatment list through considering development of their financial or health conditions.
Rashidul Haque said, the poor patients needed to get registration first in the department to get treatment help.
After getting registration they can get insulin and other medicines from their own districts through BIRDEM local branches.
There are about 75 branches of BIRDEM hospital across the country.
Professor AK Azad Khan, President, Diabetic Association of Bangladesh, said the Diabetics Association of Bangladesh annually provides Tk 11 crore worth of insulin to poor patients for free. This amount, however, is not enough for Bangladesh.
He asked the wealthy section of the society, along with the government, to work together to help poor patients.
Experts said, huge number of poor diabetes patients still staying out of getting free insulin, other medicines and treatment.
According to official data, there are about 690000 diabetes patients in the country. A notable numbers among them are from poorer families who are unable to get proper treatment for the higher expenditures.
Experts said, increasing expenditures of diabetes are making lower families of such patients vulnerable.
They said, the price of insulin is high. Besides, the other medicines for the diabetes patients also not lower.
In such circumstances, the lower income families with diabetes patients are become vulnerable in Bangladesh.

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