Sehat card to revolutionise health sector: PM

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Rejects media criticism on economy: Says 5.37pc GDP growth despite pandemic can’t be termed as inefficiency
BAHAWALPUR
Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the Sehat Card programme will revolutionise the health sector.
Addressing the launching ceremony of Sehat Card programme for Bahawalpur division held at Islamia University Bahawalpur on Tuesday, the prime minister said that the government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is committed to mitigating the deprivation of the people of South Punjab by ensuring their just share in development budget and employment opportunities.
He said the people of South Punjab would be given their right of access to education, healthcare and development in accordance with the percentage of the population. The National Health Card, providing Rs1 million medical coverage per household annually, will benefit around 10.5 million people belonging to the districts of Rahimyar Khan, Bahawalpur and Bahawalnagar.
The prime minister termed the launch of the health coverage facility as the “landmark step” to accommodate the people bearing the burden of expensive medical treatment. He said universal health coverage was available in a few countries across the world, where the government fully covered the medical expenses.

In Pakistan, he said, the philosophy behind the health card was in line with the goals of a socio-welfare State of Medina, adding that it would prove a phenomenal step in the improvement of healthcare services. Imran Khan said the health card was a defining moment in encouraging the private sector to join the medical network especially in rural areas and creating an environment to compete for the public sector hospitals to improve their services.

He said a massive amount of over Rs400 billion would be spent on health insurance programmes to meet the demands of the growing population. He said the programme would address the problems including the unavailability of doctors and paramedic staff at hospitals, especially in rural areas.

The prime minister announced that he would soon visit Bahawalpur in near future regarding the further administrative steps on the South Punjab civil secretariat in the city.

Khan said the government is taking steps to improve economic stability and mentioned that the credible ‘Economist’ magazine and ‘Bloomberg’ had ranked Pakistan among the top three countries that have effectively sustained economically during pandemic. He dismissed the “unreasonable” criticism of the media that called the government as “inefficient”, and said that economic growth of 5.37 despite the pandemic situation could absolutely not be termed as inefficiency.

Instead, he pointed out that the international media including BBC had reported about the “stories of massive corruption” committed by the leaders of two previous governments of Pakistan. He said Pakistan suffered immensely during these two tenures just like that ‘even a factory can become bankrupt if a dacoit is appointed at the top’.

The prime minister said the government was committed to bringing the corrupt answerable before the law and recovering the nation’s looted money.

Addressing the occasion, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar said the launch of health cards in the Bahawalpur division will raise the number of people and households in the national health programme in Punjab by 65 percent.

He said over 100 hospitals had been empanelled in three districts where the patients would be able to avail medical treatment from the public and private hospitals. By March, he said, the programme would be expanded to 36 districts of Punjab benefiting around 110 million, adding that the Punjab government is contributing billions for the health coverage, especially for cancer patients.

Federal Minister for Industries and Production Khusro Bakhtiar said Bahawalpur is the first division in South Punjab to get the facility of health insurance from the Rs400 billion mega programme of federal and provincial governments. He said several revolutionary projects including Ehsaas socio-welfare programme were in line with the government’s vision of facilitating the common man and urged the local public representatives to guide the public to benefit from the initiative. TLTP