Federal Cabinet approves Ehsaas Tahafuz, a fund-based health financing system

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Federal Cabinet has approved the Ehsaas Catastrophic Health Expenditure Policy and Ehsaas Tahafuz through circulation. Through this policy, Ehsaas Tahafuz, has been approved, which is a fund-based health financing system.


Ehsaas Tahafuz will complement the insurance-based Sehat Sahulat programme to ensure the universal health coverage and protect people from Catastrophic Health Expenditure.

Extensive two-year-long work has been done on Ehsaas Tahafuz which is country’s first shock-oriented precision safety net. Ehsaas Tahafuz is primarily premised on coverage principles to complement government’s existing Sehat Sahulat programme and plug in any gaps.

The programme has been built keeping in mind five key principles including provision of universal access; catering to only catastrophic expenditures; complementing existing insurance programs; coverage of all essential treatments; and promotion of accountability and improvement.

“Given the current landscape and the importance of protecting the vulnerable, there was a need for a programme to act as a complementary initiative to the health insurance programme, which addresses the gaps to ensure no one falls into poverty due to healthcare expenses. To address this, Ehsaas Tahafuz has been introduced to provide coverage specifically against catastrophic health expenditures to vulnerable communities,” said Dr. Sania Nishtar while chairing the review meeting of Ehsaas Tahafuz at the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division in Islamabad on Thursday.

Sania Nishtar further described, “Ehsaas Tahafuz will run as per the parameters outlined in this policy to complement Sehat Sahulat to ensure efficient use of public resources and to build synergies between complementary programmes.”

The programme works in partnership with public hospitals that identify patients requiring financial support. Patients identified are then assessed by Tahafuz against an eligibility criterion.

For eligible patients, hospitals are directly reimbursed for pre-defined treatment costs. Ehsaas Tahafuz system is paperless, mobile-phone centered and technology-based. Its automated workflows, supply-chain management, tracking and time-shaping, and pre-configured rules for eligibility ascertainment, help overcome abuse and mistargeting of social protection funds. These features have made the system responsive and accountable.

Ehsaas represents a global innovation in health financing where a patient-level purchasing system has been developed at scale.

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