Sindh yet to identify districts for PM’s Health Insurance Scheme

HealthSindh yet to identify districts for PM's Health Insurance Scheme

KARACHI, Pakistan: Inability of Sindh Government to identify districts with highest number of people living around poverty line has delayed its inclusion in the Prime Minister’s Health Insurance Scheme being launched in December this year.

Officials associated with National Health Services talking to media said budgetary allocation worth Rs.nine billion for the scheme has already been approved by Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC).

“Despite the fact that a sizable amount for Sindh based beneficiaries has also been earmarked by the federal government yet little willingness on part of Sindh has delayed its inclusion in the scheme,” said Dr. Asad Hafeez, Director general, Health Services – Pakistan.

The three year scheme aimed at covering medical expenses of people living with an income of below two dollars in the country will be implemented in a phased manner encompassing 23 districts across the country.

Responding to a question, Dr. Asad said the scheme is equally focused on poverty alleviation as 60% of the new groups falling into the category of poor each year in the country comprise those exposed to catastrophic experiences as infliction of serious ailments in the family compelling them to sell off their property – both movable and immovable as cattle and land to meet treatment expenses.

Government was said to be keen to address the issue and help people through provision of health insurance for which they would be required to pay nothing with due understanding that cash is not to be involved.

As per arrangements federal government has ensured to provide Rs.2.5 million premium amount to State Life Insurance Company so as to meet tertiary care needs of each of the relevant families while provinces are required to contribute Rs.50,000 for secondary and primary healthcare needs of their respective inhabitants.

“Sindh with the argument to focus on improving public sector health facilities has communicated that it may take any final decision about its contribution in 2016,” said the official.

In reply to a question, he said that due consideration has been extended to the possibility whereby the beneficiaries could burst the limit of Rs. 2.5 million.

“In that case they would then be supported by the government via Baitul Maal, said D.G Health mentioning that two percent of the beneficiaries are estimated to cross the limit of Rs.2.5 million”.

To another query, he said a 100 million population is contemplated to be covered under PM’s Health Insurance Scheme in next 10 years’ time, that would be half of the total population brought under Insurance cover.

This would also enable government to regulate private sector, presently catering to almost 80% healthcare needs of the people across the country.

Dr. Asad Hafeez said provision for strict monitoring discipline through MIS developed by NADRA is in place to avert any chance of fraud at any level.

Dr. Saif Malik, another senior health department official said the scheme particularly envisages to focus on mother, neonatal and child health upgradation.

Seven different groups of ailments were said to be incorporated in the health insurance scheme, including emergency cases, alongwith primary and secondary health conditions as infections, heart diseases etc to serious cases as accidents, cancers, organ failures and so-forth.

Earlier Minister for Ministry of National Health, Regulation and Coordination, Sara Afzal Tarrar chaired a meeting with State Life Insurance officials to review measures adopted to finalize implementation of the scheme by December.

She on the occasion urged officials that “Pakistan Safe Card” to be provided to the beneficiaries of PM Health Scheme must be made user friendly with due provision that people are sensitized of the scheme and facilitated to avail the same.

All relevant aspects as hospitals on panel under insurance scheme in each of the districts, cases of referrals, easy accessibility of beneficiaries to the facilities as agreed upon by the government and insurance company as well as relevant institutions and involvement of local NGOs were extensively discussed on the occasion.

Source: APP


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