Prime Minister Imran Khan reaffirmed his government’s commitment on Friday to transform Pakistan into a welfare state as per the vision of the country’s founding fathers, as he launched a universal health coverage initiative for Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).
Addressing the inauguration ceremony in Islamabad, prime minister Imran said that given the economic constraints, the launching of the Sehat Sahulat Programme for AJK was a courageous decision by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.
“This programme is in line with the principles of State of Madina,” Imran told the ceremony. This programme, he added, would provide health insurance to 1.2 million families in the region, who could get medical treatment at 350 health facilities across Pakistan.
“I am very happy to launch this health service for the people of Azad Jammu and Kashmir,” Imran said. “The launching of this programme in AJK will also send a message across the Line of Control (LoC)… that we care for our people”.
Under the Sehat Sahulat Programme, every individual will receive a health insurance card to cover their medical costs. the PTI government started this project from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where it is extending it to every household. In Punjab, 6 million families had been provided health cards while the provincial government is taking steps to extend this facility to the entire population by the end of next year.
“When I entered politics, I had a resolve to do something about those who cannot pay hospital bills to save the lives of their loved ones,” Imran said. “This is particularly true for a disease like cancer which is very costly to treat, and many families are pushed below the poverty line while paying for treatment.”
Imran added that even some developed countries of the world do not have universal health coverage, but Pakistan took “the bold step and introduced this facility despite struggling with debts and limited resources”. He said: “The government wants to make sure that the basic needs of the masses are met.”
Imran reiterated his resolve to turn Pakistan into a welfare state. “We will transform Pakistan into a welfare state, which was envisioned by our founding fathers,” he said. “The introduction of universal health coverage in Azad Jammu and Kashmir is a step towards that goal,” he added.
(WITH INPUT FROM NEWS DESK)
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