- Programme will provide cheap medical care to poor people for seven life-threatening diseases including cardiovascular diseases, hepatitis, diabetes, dialysis and cancer treatment
- PM says programme should be implemented by rising above political differences
- Nawaz also rejects increase in petrol price, orders reduction in prices of other POL products
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday launched the Prime Minister’s National Health Programme 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 in executing our responsibility,” the prime minister 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 no 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 impoverished population across the country.
“We will provide latest technical equipment not only to public but also to private hospitals to aid 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 National Database Registration Authority (NADRA) chairman for providing the technical assistance, and State Life Insurance Corporation chairperson for providing insurance coverage to the beneficiaries of the programme.
Earlier, Minister of State for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Saira Afzal Tarar briefed PM Sharif on the services and benefits of the programme, which would 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 15 districts of the country.
Under the programme, health care cards will be issued to the beneficiaries who can use them to get free medical treatment for 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.
Every cardholder will be able to avail health facilities worth Rs 0.3 million per year. However, in case of exceeding the card limit the patient will be provided financial assistance by Baitul Maal.
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 offered to families in 23 districts of Pakistan living below the poverty line both for 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 present during the ceremony.
PM REJECTS SUMMARY FOR PRICE HIKE:
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced that he was rejecting the summary of Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) for hike in petroleum prices from January 1, 2016.
The government, instead of increasing the prices, pushed a summary through for reduction in oil prices. According to the summary, the price of light diesel will be reduced by Rs 5.93, high octane by Rs 4.35 and kerosene Rs 8.07 per litre.
Earlier on Wednesday, OGRA recommended to the Petroleum Ministry to increase the price of petrol by Rs 2.17 per litre for the month of January.
The prime minister said that Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas project would end gas crisis in the country.