The limit of free supply of medicines, implants and conduct of free-of-cost complex surgeries for the treatment of poor and middle-class patients in public hospitals under the Ehsaas Tahafuz Programme has been cut down to Rs50,000 from Rs250,000 to Rs300,000.
The system of free medical treatment under the Ehsaas Tahufaz Programme for needy patients beyond the resources of government hospitals was implemented during the previous regime under which the surgical equipment, medicines and implants are provided free of cost to the patient.
In this regard, the team of Ehsaas Tahafuz Programme in each hospital gets the recommendation of the necessary equipment required for the surgical procedures of the needy patients and sends it to its head office for onwards transfer of funds to the vendor for release of the required supplies.
However, in the verbal instructions issued to the public hospitals, it has been said that the demand limit, which was earlier from Rs250,000 to Rs300,000, has now been decreased to Rs50,000. Therefore, medicines and equipment worth more than Rs50,000 should not be recommended.
On the other hand, due to the situation where the supply of goods to the deserving patients as per their needs has stopped, the operations of gynaecology, orthopaedic, and gastro have been postponed for those patients who cannot afford to pay for medicines and surgical equipment for the surgical procedures from their own resources.
Meanwhile, the vendors have refused to supply medicines and other essential items under the Ehsaas Tahafuz Programme on the old rates which were fixed in 2019-20 on the pretext that the rates have not been revised despite rising inflation.
According to sources, the reduction in funding of the Ehsaas Tahafuz Programme, which is one of the most successful programs in terms of free treatment for deserving patients, has resulted in an unprecedented reduction in free medical facilities for needy patients.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 29th, 2022.
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