PM launches National Health Programme

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday launched the Prime Minister’s National Health Programme in Islamabad to ensure medical treatment for families living below the poverty line.

“It is our duty to provide the best medical care to poor people and this programme is just a step further in executing our responsibility,” PM Nawaz said while addressing a gathering at the inaugural ceremony of the National Health Programme.

“We have no other option but to make this programme a success,” the prime minister said, adding there should not be any politics involved in health-related initiatives.

The prime minister invited all the provincial governments to be a part of the national-level initiative for provision of better medical treatment to the impoverish population across the country.

“We will provide latest technical equipment not only to public but also to private hospitals to aide this programme,” the prime minister announced; however, he said serious action will be taken against those who try to misuse it.

Further, the prime minister directed the federal health minister to keep monitoring the progress of the services being provided to the people through the health programme.

The prime minister also thanked chairman National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) for providing the technical assistance and chairperson State Life Insurance Corporation for providing insurance coverage to the beneficiaries of the programme.

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Earlier, minister of State for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Saira Afzal Tarar briefed PM Nawaz on the services and benefits of the programme, which will provide cheap medical care to poor people against seven life-threatening diseases.

The scheme offers free of cost treatment for ailments such as cardiovascular diseases, Diabetes Mellitus, Burma and RTA (life and limb saving treatment, implants, prosthesis). It will also cover end-stage renal diseases and dialysis, chronic infections (Hepatitis), organ failure (Hepatic, Renal, Cardiopulmonary) and cancer treatment (Chemo, Radio and Surgery).

Initially the programme is being started in fifteen districts of the country. Under the programme health care cards will be issued to the beneficiaries on which they will get free medical treatment of seven diseases.

The prime minister was informed that around 63,000 people will be issued health cards through 300 centres in Islamabad and Lahore which have initially been established for the distribution of health cards.

Further, every card holder will be able to avail health facilities worth Rs0.3 million per year; however, in case of exceeding the card limit the patient will be provide financial assistance by Baitul Mal.

The PM approved this programme in June last year. A provision of Rs1 billion was included in the budget for launching the scheme on a pilot basis which will then be replicated in a large number of districts.

In the first phase the programme will provide free of cost access to hospital/indoor care to 3.1 million families. This will be spread across to families in 23 districts of Pakistan living below the poverty line both for 7 priority and secondary diseases. The districts included in this programme are Narowal, Khanewal, Sargodha, Rahim Yar Khan, Sheikhupura, Badin, Shaheed Benazirabad, Sanghar, Mardan, Malakand, Kohat and Chitral. In addition Quetta, Loralai, Lesbela, Kech, Muzaffarabad, Kotli, Diamer, Skardu, Bajaur Agency, Khyber Agency and ICT are also included.

Federal Ministers Ishaq Dar, Khurram Dastagir, Minister of State for Interior Baleeghur Rehman, Minister for CADD Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry and Maryam Nawaz Sharif were also present.

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