As an attempt to provide universal health coverage, the prime minister has launched ‘sehat sahulat programme’ for all people with disabilities and their families in Pakistan. Through this social health protection initiative all people with disabilities and their families will be provided with free of cost health insurance to secure indoor health care services worth Rs720,000 from empaneled hospitals through a very transparent and computerised mechanism.
To expand this public service initiative towards a prosperous and healthy nation, the launch of the provision of Sehat Insaf cards for the people with disabilities (PWDs), a national level ceremony was held in the auditorium of the Prime Minister’s Office in Islamabad on Saturday.
Addressing the launching ceremony Special Assistant to the PM On Health (SAPM) Dr Zafar Mirza said that this initiative is aimed at the empowerment, mainstreaming and well-being of the people with disabilities.
Through the health card, specially-abled men and women and their registered families will also be provided with health benefits said Dr Zafar Mirza. He added that this is a joint collaboration between the Health Ministry and Ehsaas Programme and would be an example for all other public sector initiatives to work together and synergise their efforts to bring benefits for our country’s people.
He said the programme would be a major step in poverty alleviation efforts as expensive treatment for all major diseases is covered in it and will protect vulnerable families from economic shocks the SAPM said.
The services available from Sehat Insaf card include open heart surgeries, insertion of stents, treatment of cancer, neurosurgical procures, burn treatment, accident treatment, dialysis, intensive care management, deliveries, C-sections and other medical and surgical procedures.
The programme will also provide Rs1,000 transportation cost to its beneficiaries at the time of their discharge from the hospital.
There is a provision of Rs10,000 as burial support (if the patient’s death occurs in the hospital).
There is a facility of Interprovincial / Inter district transportation for availing free of cost services from any empaneled hospital in Pakistan.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Sania Nishtar announced five of the priority goals of Ehsaas, which are part of the Ehsaas strategy. These include, safety net for at least 10 million families, livelihood opportunities for 5 million individuals (50% women); financial access to healthcare through Insaf cards for 10 million families; scholarships and education incentives for more than 5 million students (more than 50% girls); and through the Kifalat programme financial inclusion and access to mobile phones for 6 million women and 500 digital hubs for them to access the internet. These goals will be explained in the Ehsaas strategy, which will be released soon.
Dr Nishtaar also elaborated on the other disability related policies in the Ehsaas framework. She said that “under the Ehsaas framework, 1% quota is being allocated for disabled government employees in government accommodation; 2% quota will be reserved for disable people in Naya Pakistan housing scheme; special instructions have been given by the PM to strictly implement the 2% percent disabled quota in all government jobs.
Furthermore, to give greater salience to disability in public policy, the Ministry of Planning and Development Reforms has issued the directives that no PC-1 shall be approved, until it is disability friendly. In addition, legislation in line with UNCRP is tabled by the Ministry of Human Rights at Parliament.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2019.
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