Following the Chinese invasion of Tibet, tens and thousands of Tibetans arrived into exile in India and neighbouring countries in the early 1960sand the Tibetan refugees have faced immense health challenges. Difficulty in adapting to a foreign geographical and climatic environment coupled with a lack of adequate nutrition and basic healthcare services resulted in extremely poor health and exceptionally high death rates. In order to address this situation, the Central Tibetan Administration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama (CTA) initiated the formation of Department of Health (DoHe).
In a CTA survey, it was found that over 45% of the Tibetan exile community suffer from diseases such as Cancer, Tuberculosis, Liver cirrhosis and heart disease, which require a high degree of secondary and tertiary care. Lack of an adequate healthcare coverage has been a major cause of high mortality rate as well as a primary cause of poverty and financial insecurity amongst the community. Indeed, private out-of-pocket spending currently accounts for an estimated 88% of health expenditures, which is higher than in many developing countries such as India.
Following the findings, the 13th Kashag decided to institute the Tibetan Medicare System (TMS) on 14th July 2010 – a holistic secondary and tertiary healthcare coverage for all Tibetans living in exile under the responsibility of Tibetan Voluntary Health Association (TVHA), registered society under the Indian Societies Registration Act of 1860.
Under the leadership of 14th Kashag of Honorable Sikyong Dr.Lobsang Sangay, The Department of Health had launched The TMS Health Plan on 1st April 2012.Since then, Tibetan Medicare is being implemented successfully for close three years now and has provided an equitable and comprehensive healthcare coverage to the Exile Tibetans livingin India.In the past three years, over 30,000 Tibetans have enrolled in the project and around 1800 have already availed the benefits of it. However, the TMS is still dependent on funds. Hence, more participation of the Tibetan public is crucial to make TMS self-reliant and to pre-empt financial constraints during medical emergencies for the poor.
An extensive review of the TMS Health Plan was recently undertaken by the Department of Health, with the funding and expertise assistance of USAID under its Health Finance & Governance Project. In addition to data analysis, a community level survey was conducted to elicit views of the community about the efficacy of the TMS Health Plan and their suggestions on improvements in its design and implementation. After incorporating workable suggestions, the Department of Health has restructured the TMS Health Plan with the final approval from the Kashag.
This revised Tibetan Medicare System Health plan aims to strengthen and provide sustainability to the existing TMS Health plan and proposes to cover all exile Tibetan population in India.
The Revised TMS Health Plan will be implemented from 1st April 2015. The enrolment period starts from 1st February to 16th March 2015 for Tibetan community in India.
The TMS Health Plan is essentially a non-profit, social health programme designed to serve the healthcare needs of the entire Tibetan exile community in India. While providing full coverage to the most disadvantaged sections of the society, it also provides real benefits of the membership to all Tibetans living in India, who volunteer to pay annually to TVHA, a pure risk contribution.
Tibetan Medicare System works on the principle of Community Health Insurance by spreading the risk of healthcare expenses over a number of people so that the financial burden of unfortunate few who need healthcare is shared by the many fortunate who remain healthy.
The TMS Health Plan seeks to reimburse in-patient medical and surgical expenses incurred by TMS Members in both public and private health facilities, including Tibetan Sorig facilities.
While addressing the deficiencies in the current Tibetan healthcare system and providing accessibility to comprehensive healthcare, the TMS also contributes to the effectiveness of its ongoing prevention programmes. Through this approach to healthcare, the TMS aims to help reduce financial insecurity in short term and improve the public health and well-being of all Tibetans in exile in India in the long run.
Health Department would like to announce that Almost 70% (Rs.2500 out of Rs.3565) of TMS contribution of family or group of five from 30,000 Tibetan people in India will be subsidized with support from the USAID for the following groups in Exile Tibetan population in India-
- One time contribution rebate for existing TMS members of 2014-2015
- New Arrivals (lay people) from Tibet living in India from 2004 to 2014.
- Tibetan Monks and Nuns living in India
- Tibetan Family of 3 or more children (3rd child should be born on or after July 1st, 2014)
- Old People’s Home for Tibetans in India
- Other economically weak Tibetan people who are not in the CTA’s list of poor people (Nyamthaks B and D )
The Health Department strongly advises and encourages all Tibetans living in India to enrol in Tibetan Medicare and protect their families from unexpected financial loss due to expensive Surgical and medical treatment.
For Further information, Contact your settlement officers, and Hospital Administrator at the respective Tibetan settlements in India; and /or
Department of Health
Central Tibetan Administration
Dharamsala, Kangra Distt., H.P.
Phone: 0091-1892-223408, 0091-1892-223486
Fax No.: 0091-1892-222718