PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Chief Minister Pervez Khattak on Thursday announced enhancements in the “sehat insaf cards” scheme, including the release of an additional Rs900 million to tertiary hospitals to equip them with required health facilities and including all disabled persons of the province under the ambit of the scheme.
The chief minister also hinted at making the Sehat Sahulat Programme a permanent feature of KP government through legislation.
He was addressing the sehat insaf card distribution ceremony at Peshawar chief minister house as the chief guest of the occasion. The ceremony was also addressed by Health Minister Shahram Tarakai, Project Director Dr Riaz Tanoli, sponsoring German agency GIZ Head Alexandra and other health experts who highlighted the importance of the programme and of other people-friendly reforms initiatives of the provincial government.
The chief minister said that 2.5 million health cards were being distributed among the poor under the 3rd phase of the programme, which would benefit 19.9 million people or 69% of the total population of the province. He said that the scheme would enable the poor to avail free treatments costing up to Rs5 lakh at any public or private hospital.
The chief minister expressed regrets that past regimes had jeopardised entire governance systems, including the health sector. He said that the health reforms introduced by KP government could not be matched by any other health initiatives in Pakistan’s entire history. He also reiterated his promise that reforms for the betterment of public health institutions would continue.
Khattak also remarked that the KP government welcomed positive criticism and called upon the media to adopt the practice of extending positive criticism also. He expressed hopes that the media would responsibly compare the present and previous government’s achievements and provide the government with valuable feedback. He requested the media to refrain from unjustly linking the present government with the previous regimes’ wrongdoings, saying that it was extremely unfortunate that previous governments had been marked with rampant corruption done in the name of development.
The chief minister remarked that the government’s efforts in improving the provincial health system, as well as the education and transportation systems, were indeed major projects of the government.
He also pointed out that it was the first time that all tertiary hospitals of the province had been given autonomy, which was a big success against mafias’ strong opposition. He said that another major step of the government was the drastic increase in the salaries of the health employees, adding that the salaries of doctors had been raised from Rs45,000 to Rs150,000 and their number had risen from 3,000 to 7,500.
KP is the only province of Pakistan where doctors are available in all districts, the chief minister further claimed.
He thanked the attendees of the conference and all donors of the province’s health programmes, especially German agency GIZ for its extensive financial support in the implementation of the Sehat Sahulat Programme.