Pakistan: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa becomes first province to introduce universal health coverage for all residents

  • 2 months   ago
Pakistan: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa becomes first province to introduce universal health coverage for all residents
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at the MoU signing between the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government and State Life insurance company for universal health coverage in a ceremony in Islamabad. Image Credit: Supplied

6 million families will be entitled to medical treatment of up to Rs1 million

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is the country’s first province to offer a universal health insurance programme for all its residents – a move that signifies health is now a priority in Pakistan after the harsh pandemic days.

Under the programme, each of the 6 million families in the province will be entitled to medical treatment of up to Rs1 million ($6,000) a year at over 250 government and private hospitals across the country.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was present at the launch ceremony of the Sehat Insaf Card (SIC) scheme on Thursday, termed it a “historic development for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa” and expressed hope that other provinces would also announce similar programmes.

The prime minister lauded the KP government for introducing the health scheme amidst financial constraints due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Besides benefiting the people, the massive health insurance cover would also create a competitive environment to improve the health services at public and private hospitals, he said.

Insurance to cover 40 million residents

KP Health Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra said that the provincial government would spend Rs18 billion to provide health insurance to the entire 40 million population across all 35 districts.

The six-phased programme would be completed by January 2021.

The residents of Malakand division including Swat, Buner, Dir, Shangla, Malakand, Chitral and Bajaur districts will begin receiving the free services from October, followed by Hazara division in November, Mardan and Peshawar in December and Kohat, Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan in January. The KP government has signed an agreement with the State Life Insurance Corporation for the health insurance initiative.

 

What will the insurance cover?

The Rs1 million health coverage includes Rs200,000 for emergency, maternity services, fracture and general surgery; Rs400,000 for cardiovascular, diabetes, kidney diseases, breast cancer screening, neurological diseases and artificial limbs (prosthesis); and the rest Rs400,000 for cancer treatment (chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery), kidney transplant, accident and emergency and ICU care. The KP government has signed agreement with the State Life Insurance Corporation for the health insurance initiative.

KP health insurance in numbers

  • Rs1 million insurance for each family
  • 6 million families entitled to medical treatment
  • 250 government and private hospitals included
  • Rs18 billion to be spent on health insurance
  • 35 districts to benefit from the program

The two flagship projects of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government in KP, Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) launched last week and now the universal health coverage, that have won the hearts of the local residents may also help PTI win provincial election in KP third time in a row.

 

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