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Hospitals can’t refuse treatment of Acid Attack victims

New Delhi, July 31: No information on refusal by hospitals to treat acid attack victims is maintained centrally, as health is a state subject. However, as far as the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi; Jawarharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Puduchery; three Central Hospitals in Delhi viz. Safdarjung Hospital, Dr. RML Hospital and Lady Hardinge Medical College and Associated Hospitals are concerned, there is no report of refusal for treatment of acid attack victim.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued a letter dated 02.05.2013 to all State Governments/Union Territories (UTs) with a request to issue necessary instructions to all government and private hospitals in the States/Union Territories to provide free treatment to the acid attack victims as per the provisions of Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013. In addition, the Hon’ble Supreme Court has passed an order on 10th April, 2015 in Writ Petition (Criminal) No. 129 of 2006 in the matter of Laxmi versus Union of India, inter alia, directing States/UTs to ensure free medical treatment of the acid attack victims, which includes not only provision of physical treatment to the victims but also availability of medicines, bed and food in the hospital concerned. The order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court has been circulated to all States/UTs to ensure compliance by all concerned.

Further, a pilot programme was initiated in the year 2010 by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for Prevention of Burns Injuries in three Medical Colleges and six Districts Hospitals of three states. During the 12th Five Year Plan, this Programme is continued with the name “National Programme for Prevention and Management of Burns Injuries (NPPMBI)” for establishing burns units in 67 State Government Medical Colleges and 19 District Hospitals. Under this Programme, the burns units are strengthened for managing burns injury cases including management of acid burns.

A Practical Handbook of Burns Management has been developed for training of medical officers. One of the chapters of this handbook outlines the management of chemical burns including acid and alkali burns and the same has been uploaded on the website of Clinical Establishment Act.

In respect of awareness for prevention and management of acid attack victim, the print material has been developed under the Information Education and Communication component of NPPMBI. This has also been disseminated through outdoor publicity campaign via external train wrapping in five trains during the month of April 2015.

Health Minister J P Nadda stated this in a written reply in the Lok Sabha here today.

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