Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif launched on Thursday the National Health Programme for families in Narowal.
“This is just the beginning of the health programme as it will reach other districts as well,” the premier told the launching ceremony in the Punjab district.
He said the country was progressing not just on the health front but towards eliminating load-shedding and the menace of terrorism as well.
“The national health programme has been in at least 23 districts. However, some people are hell bent upon lying and leveling baseless allegations aimed at character assassination,” Nawaz said in a thinly veiled jibe at Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan.
“The nation is tired of hearing such lies and this sort of politics if dangerous and destructive for Pakistan.”
Pakistan, the premier said, is on the path to progress and reaching new peaks of success every day.
A parliamentary panel revealed in April last year that a multibillion-rupee health insurance scheme of the government had suffered serious setbacks since its launch in December 2015.
The premier had unveiled Phase-I of the Rs9.1 billion scheme that promised cashless health services to the poorest, saying the three-year scheme will initially benefit people in 23 districts of the country.
However, PM’s National Health Programme Director Dr Faisal admitted before the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Planning and Development that the scheme could not be launched in districts like Bahawalnagar, in Punjab, and Chaghi, in Balochistan due to lack of health infrastructure.
Dr Faisal also revealed that the scheme could not be administered through state-run district and tehsil headquarters hospitals as they lacked administrative and financial autonomy needed to qualify for the scheme.
The ruling party lawmakers present at the meeting suggested that the premier either scrapped the scheme or changed the execution strategy for better results.
It was the PM Nawaz’s third major politically motivated initiative that apparently failed to impress upon the stakeholders. Earlier, the PM’s much-touted Kissan Package and PM’s Youth Business Loan Programme had also failed to achieve the desired results.