About seven months back, lightning struck Ramulu, 55, a resident of Produttur, a small town in Andhra Pradesh. His kidneys had failed. The signs were there from many months. Ramulu could not afford any treatment. He ignored the signs. He had no choice. And now, the doctors said he needed to go to Hyderabad for treatment.
Gathering his life's savings, accompanied by his son, Ganesh, who was around 32, he took a bus to Hyderabad and went to a government run hospital. He was examined by a doctor and was asked to wait outside while the doctor talked to Ganesh. The doctor said gravely that Ramulu needed dialysis to live. And it would cost around Rs. 15,000 per month. This came as a shock to Ganesh. Rs. 15,000! They could not afford this. What if he did not take the treatment? Ramulu would die in a few weeks, months at best.
Ganesh was too shocked to react.
The doctor enquired whether they were classified as "Below Poverty Line". Ganesh said yes. The doctor then told him about the government's Aarogyasree scheme where the poor people of the state can get medical treatment free of cost at designated hospitals.
Ganesh took all the details of this scheme from the doctor and left.
Today, Ramulu lives. Thanks to the Aarogyasree scheme. The scheme that has given a new lease of life to thousands of poor people. People who would have no option but to die for want of money to fund their treatment.
This novel scheme was introduced by Dr. Y S Rajashekhar Reddy, the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh who tragically died in a helicopter crash two days back. The state mourns the passing of a great leader.