Imran Khan addresses the launching ceremony of the hearlth card in Lahore city on Monday. Twitter photo
Gulf Today Report
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday launched a programme to provide health insurance to all residents of Punjab, announcing that by the end of March, all families in the province will get the “Naya Pakistan Health Card.”
“This is a landmark scheme. This is a defining moment towards our course to make Pakistan a welfare state,” the prime minister said while addressing the launching ceremony in Lahore city. Under the scheme, families can avail free medical treatment of up to Rs1 million per year. Imran praised Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmeen Rashid and Chief Minister Usman Buzdar for spearheading the project in Punjab.
Starting from January 2022, he said, the health card would be distributed across the province within three months allowing whole of the Punjab population to avail free medical treatment worth Rs1 million a year at both government and private hospitals.
“This is not a health insurance rather a health system. Now private sector will build hospitals even in villages where the basic health units remain vacant as no doctor desires to be posted there. Now private sector will come and poorest of the poor will get free treatment,” the prime minister remarked.
He said the difficulties faced by his family for treatment of her cancer patient mother, had prompted him to think of introducing a universal health insurance facility for the whole population so that no one had to sell out belongings for the medical treatment of their dear one.
He said the health insurance cover would give the families confidence to get treated their ailing family members which otherwise was unaffordable for many.
Reiterating his vision of replicating Madinah State model in Pakistan, he said the Holy Prophet (PBUH) established the world’s first welfare state even without having sufficient resources.
He apprised the audience that despite the discouraging notions about the feasibility of Shaukat Khanum Hospital, 75% of per cent patients were getting free medical treatment.
The hospital which was built at cost of Rs700 million now spending Rs10 billion for treating the patients, the premier added.
The prime minister said that a total of Rs440 billion would be spent on health insurance over a course of three years under the health programme. He said the initiative would encourage the private sector to invest in establishing hospitals in villages and remote areas, where there were only hospitals.
“There is a lack of doctors in those areas, but now the private sector would invest in constructing hospitals in the poorest areas as everyone will be able to [pay for medical] treatment through health cards,” he said.
The universal health coverage programme will enable each family in the province to avail medical treatment of up to Rs1 million per year at both government and private hospitals. Addressing the launching ceremony, the premier said that this was a “revolutionary step.”
Under the new initiative, each family in KP would be provided with a health card facilitating them with free of cost medical treatment amounting to Rs1 million at public and private hospitals in the province.
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