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November 6, 2020

PM Imran Khan launches free healthcare services programme in KP today

Peshawar

November 6, 2020

PESHAWAR: Prime Minister Imran Khan would formally launch the landmark free healthcare services programme in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa today to extend the service to all residents having domicile of the province, the health minister said on Thursday.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Health Taimur Saleem Jhagra had invited a group of journalists to a briefing where he explained various aspects of the free healthcare system. He called it a “universal health insurance programme” that would cover the 40 million population of the province. The previous Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government had initiated this programme. It was called Sehat Sahulat Programme carrying the “Sehat Insaf Card”. It carried the PTI flag and the court had later stopped the government from using any such initiative. The programme was launched in Malakand, Mardan, Chitral and Kohat as a pilot project in December 2015. Behind the success of the programme is stated to be the longstanding efforts of the programme project director, Dr Riaz Tanoli. This success story convinced the KP to extend it to all residents of the province, though there are still some deficiencies and challenges, which Taimur Jhagra, who is also holding the portfolio of finance, vowed to remove and make people-friendly.

Taimur Jhagra said they had allocated Rs18 billion for the free health services annually and signed a contract with State Life Insurance Corporation of Pakistan. “Under the programme, more than 6.5 million families of KP would get free inpatient healthcare services.??In order to ensure transparency, services of NADRA would be hired for enrollment of beneficiary families,” Dr Riaz Tanoli, told The News. He said that services to the beneficiaries would be offered free without an out of pocket payment up to the limit of Rs1.0 million per family per year.

The previous healthcare programme was supposed to cover an entire family within Rs540,000, but in the revised programme the amount has been increased up to Rs1million to cover a family, including the couple and their children. “All the secondary care healthcare and tertiary care diseases like accident and emergency, diabetes, kidney ailments including dialysis and kidney transplant, Hepatitis B and C, all types of cancers and heart and vascular diseases are covered under the programme. Also, 24/7 services would be available for complaint management through a toll-free number,” said Dr Riaz Tanoli. He said they would launch vigorous campaigns throughout the province for awareness of the beneficiaries of the programme. As per the implementation plan, provision of services to the 100 percent population would be provided in four phases.

In phase 1, Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief Minister Mahmood Khan would launch the programme today in Malakand Division, excluding Buner and Shangla districts. Shangla has been added to the Hazara zone that includes the entire Hazara division, excluding Haripur district. Haripur, Buner and Swabi would be covered along with the Mardan division. In phase 2, the programme would be extended to the Hazara Division on December 1, 2020. On December 31, 2020, the programme would be launched in Peshawar and on January 1, 2021, the phase 3 would be undertaken in Mardan.

In Phase 3 from January 31, 2021, free healthcare services would be provided to the residents of Kohat, Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan divisions. Health Minister Taimur Jhagra called it a big achievement of the PTI government, saying it would bring a major relief to the people of KP. “I think all of us can understand how difficult it is for a middle class family to arrange money if someone in the family gets sick. This remarkable programme will bring them good news as they would no longer worry about their treatment,” he said. After listening to the journalists and the issues they raised about the programme, Taimur Jhagra agreed with them and pledged to remove the deficiencies.