Wednesday, January 26, 2022
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday launched the Naya Pakistan Qaumi Sehat Card scheme for the residents of Islamabad and said Pakistan would "set an example" for the world through this Rs450 billion welfare initiative.
Under the scheme, all families of Islamabad, Punjab, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan, and Tharparkar will be provided free medical treatment at government and private hospitals, Radio Pakistan reported.
The card will enable every family to avail healthcare facilities up to one million rupees in a year.
"We will be an example to the world of what a welfare state is," he told the participants of the ceremony, where Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar, Special Assistant to PM on Health Faisal Sultan, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry, and others were present.
“This will prove as a defining moment in improvement of healthcare services in Pakistan,” he said.
In Pakistan, he said, the launch of such a facility was a “landmark step” to accommodate people bearing the burden of expensive medical treatment.
The prime minister said anyone with the card could get themselves treated at any private medical facility, lamenting that the country's health system was functional only to "serve the elites".
He said doctors did not go to rural areas to continue their practice, and as a result, people living there were unable to get quality healthcare. "People [go to] Islamabad and Rawalpindi from Mianwali to get themselves treated."
He mentioned that the government was establishing five mother and child hospitals in view of the high mortality rate from neonatal and pregnancy complications.
The prime minister said the Rehmatul Lil Alameen Authority would also highlight the way of life of the Prophet (Peace be Upon Him) who emphasised on empathy for the poor and deserving.
Criticising the Opposition, the prime minister said a campaign was launched against the Punjab chief minister. "The campaign against him is like nothing that I have ever seen."
But despite the campaign, the prime minister noted that in a recent survey, people had expressed satisfaction over the development works and performance of CM Buzdar.
For his part, the chief minister said by the end of March, all of Punjab will be able to access facilities of the Sehat Card. "The government has increased the health budget by 200%."
Meanwhile, addressing the ceremony, Dr Sultan said the Sehat Card facility would be extended to people across the country, gradually, as he claimed Pakistan was moving towards becoming a welfare state.
He said a "silent revolution" was taking place in Pakistan's health sector. Dr Sultan added that the Sehat Card would help middle-class families as their budget was affected whenever someone from their family suffers health issues.