PESHAWAR: To improve health facilities for underprivileged people by increasing access to quality services, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government has launched the second phase of the Sehat Sahulat programme under the social health protection scheme. The programme will provide free services to 14 million people of the province.
The second phase of the Rs5.36 billion programme, spanning two years, was launched on Wednesday at a local hotel in Peshawar where Chief Minister Pervez Khatak and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairperson Imran Khan were present.
Addressing the launch event, CM Khatak said PTI has taken the underprivileged into account in all legislative business. “Every initiative of the provincial government has been initiated to help the poor people of the province and the Sehat Sahulat Programme is one of them.”
PTI chairperson Imran Khan also lauded the efforts of the health ministry and the provincial government in extending the programme to all districts of the province. He suggested coverage can be extended to 100% of K-P’s population.
Unveiling details of the programme to those in attendance, Health Secretary Abid Majeed said more than 50% of the underprivileged population of all the districts of the province will be covered.
He said around 1.8 million households will be provided with Sehat Insaf Cards which will help 14 million individuals—eight in each household—at designated public and private health care facilities. He said Rs89 million has been set aside for treatment exceeding a specific limit by payment of an extra Rs50 per household. Furthermore, he said 80% of the unutilised premium will be returned to the government under the programme.
When an underprivileged person approaches a health care facility, they are often worried about spending their daily wages, Majeed said. He added that as a replacement, the government decided to provide a wage replacement of Rs250 per day for a maximum of three days. The amount will be paid after the patient is discharged under the programme.
Also, the official pointed out that Rs2,000 will be given for tertiary care transportation and Rs1,000 will be paid for maternity transportation of the patient. An out-patient department voucher will be given to each beneficiary of the programme and it may be used by them for one post-discharge follow-up visit.
The matter of identifying deserving families was resolved by the poverty index survey conducted by the Benazir Income Support Programme and it will be used by the Sehat Sahulat programme.
The programme was launched with financial support from the German government through the KfW development bank. An amount of Rs1.23 billion was provided by KFW. Of the total amount, Rs1.39 billion was spent on the first phase of the programme, which was confined to four districts of K-P, including Mardan, Chitral, Malakand and Kohat.
The programme is a micro health insurance scheme which will be administered by the State Life Insurance Corporation with a per year cost of Rs2.7 million, including premiums to be paid to the company as well as administrative cost.
The programme will offer hospitalisation coverage of Rs0.54 million per annum for every household, Rs0.3 million for secondary care and up to Rs.24 million for tertiary care. The government will pay a premium of Rs1,499 per household to the insurance company.
In a conversation with The Express Tribune, Sehat Sahulat Project Director Dr Muhammad Riaz Tanoli said special attention was given to the distribution of Insaf cards to the beneficiaries. He added facilitation centres will be set up in every union council across the province.
Moreover, tokens will be issued to those who are eligible for the programme. The director said locals will be informed through mosque loudspeakers to approach facilitation centres to receive their cards.
Minster for Health Shahram Khan Tarakai, Minister for Education Atif Khan, Minister for Public Health Engineering Shah Farman, K-P Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, and representatives of KfW and State Life Insurance Corporation were also in attendance.
Addressing the launch event, CM Pervez Khatak said PTI has taken the underprivileged into account in all legislative business “Every initiative of the provincial government has been initiated to help the poor people of the province and the Sehat Sahulat Programme is one of them.”
PTI Chairperson Imran Khan also lauded the efforts of the health ministry and the provincial government is extending the programme to all districts of the province. He suggested coverage can be extended to 100% of K-P’s population.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 1st, 2016.