ISLAMABAD - The Sehat Insaf Card, one of the flagship projects of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has proved no less than a blessing for millions of poor patients during testing times of their lives.
It is always difficult for people, especially those living below the poverty line to financially support critical patients with severe diseases. It is always impossible even for the average-income families to bear the charges of laboratory tests, x-rays, CT scans, medicines and hospital charges. Other than financial burden, the family also carries the load of psychological tension and physical labour to run after the tests and arrange medicines. Looking into the sufferings of people, the incumbent government has decided to minimise the burden on public in health sector. Therefore, it has conceived a well-planned programme of Sehat Insaf Card to address the financial problems of the patients.
Initially, the initiative of Sehat Sahulat programme was launched in KP in September 2016 to provide free healthcare to families living below the poverty line. But later the service was extended to all segments of the society in the province. The project has won the hearts and minds of the people. The successful trial of the project in KP would probably help the stakeholders to extend the healthcare facility to maximum hospitals of the country. The people have also urged the government to extend the facility of Sehat Insaf Card to all federating units to financially support their patients.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Health Taimur Salim Jhagra informed the KP Assembly earlier that around 7.47 million people have registered themselves under the Sehat Insaf Card. They are now entitled to get free healthcare facilities from the scheme. He said that health facility is being given to the people of KP irrespective of their political affiliation. The critical diseases such as cancer and heart diseases are also included in the scheme, he said.
It is pertinent to mention that an agreement was signed between the KP government and State Life Insurance Corporation regarding distribution of the Sehat Insaf Card. The annual health insurance covers Rs1 million for around six million families of the province thus enabling the whole population of 40 million people to avail free medical treatment in more than 250 public and private sector hospitals of the country.
A beneficiary of the scheme Sher Alam said, “I found the government healthcare program a great initiative as it has helped me a lot to get the required medicines timely for my admitted mother free-of-charge in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).” However, he said, since this was a new programme, therefore, the approved list of medicines lack a number of medicines which the patients had to arrange from the outside. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senator Prof Dr Mehr Taj Roghani said that the initiative of the healthcare programme facilitates people of the province across the board without any discrimination. She, however said, “The healthcare scheme of Sehat Insaf Card should facilitate the downtrodden class of the society only who cannot afford the expenses of medical treatment.” The programme should also allocate funds to facilitate the disable and special persons in the society, she added.
Another beneficiary of the scheme, Yaseen Dad said that the procedural complexities should be minimised and simplified to help facilitate the patients to get the required medicines easily. Terming the initiative new yet wonderful in health sector of the country, he said, “Still there was a lot of room for improvement,” he added.
Responding to a question regarding making the project a countrywide healthcare programme, Roghani said, the Sehat Insaf Card would slowly be expanded to the whole country to help facilitate the poor strata of the society. She said, “The project is a milestone achievement of the incumbent government for the ailing community, particularly those who were unable to afford the expenses of modern-day healthcare facilities.”