Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the pro-people measures like extension of health insurance facility to the entire population of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa manifested that Pakistan “is on the course to become an Islamic welfare state”.
“Any country taking the responsibility of its people would be called a civilised state,” Premier Imran said while addressing the agreement signing ceremony between the K-P government and the State Life Insurance Corporation (SLIC) for distribution of Sehat Insaf Card on Thursday.
Under the agreement, an annual health insurance cover of Rs1 million each would be provided to around six million families of the province, enabling the whole 40 million population to avail free medical treatment at over 250 public and private hospitals across the country.
K-P Health Secretary Syed Imtiaz Hussain Shah and SLIC Chairman Dr Riaz Ahmed Memon signed the agreement while the prime minister along with K-P Governor Shah Farman and Chief Minister Mahmood Khan witnessed the ceremony.
Federal ministers Pervez Khattak, Asad Umar, Ali Amin Gandapur and Murad Saeed, special assistants to the PM Lt Gen (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa and Shahbaz Gill, provincial cabinet members and senior officials were in attendance.
The prime minister congratulated the K-P government for taking the remarkable initiative, which, he believed, would also compel other federating units to follow suit consequent to the possible public pressure.
He said that he would also ask the Punjab and Balochistan governments to provide health insurance cover to their entire population which would ultimately put the opposition-led Sindh government under pressure to extend the facility to its people.
“No service can match supporting a cash-starved poor family having a member with a serious disease,” he said, adding that illness was among the top factors to push a stable family down below the poverty line, recalling his difficult experience of getting treated her cancer patient mother.
The prime minister lauded the K-P government for launching of the Sehat Insaf Card amidst financial constraints due to the Covid-19 pandemic, saying that besides benefiting the people, the massive health insurance cover would also beget competitive environment to help improve the service delivery at public and private hospitals.
Congratulations to KP govt that despite financial problems they have taken a bold step of giving Universal health insurance coverage of Rs 1 mn per family to all KP-domiciled citizens. This is in line with our Founding Father's vision for Pak & a first step towards welfare state— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) August 20, 2020
“The government has already incenitivised the health sector by allowing duty-free import of medical equipment, besides announcing reduced prices for the evacuee properties to establish hospitals and educational institutions.”
The prime minister asked the K-P government to provide Sehat Insaf Card to the people instead of using the national identity card for the purpose as it would help compilation of data and discourage the pilferage.
In his remarks, K-P Health Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra said that the provincial government would spend Rs18 billion to provide health insurance facility to the entire 40 million population across all 35 districts.
He said that the six-phased programme would be completed by January 31, 2021.
The minister said of Rs1 million cover, Rs200,000 had been specified for emergency, maternity services, fracture and general surgery; Rs400,000 for cardiovascular, diabetes, kidney, basic cancer and neurological diseases; and the rest Rs400,000 for cancer, chemotherapy, kidney transplant, accident and emergency.
(With input from APP)