HealthPakistan

Sehat Card Scheme Reinstated in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

In a significant development for the residents of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), the Health Department has announced the resumption of the Sehat Card program, which had been suspended for approximately a year due to financial constraints. The much-awaited announcement came from the Health Minister, Syed Qasim Ali Shah, who confirmed that the facilities under the Sehat Card have been restarted, with an initial expenditure of Rs10 million benefiting 700 patients thus far.

The Sehat Card initiative, originally launched by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in 2016, has been a cornerstone of the party’s healthcare policy, aiming to provide free medical treatment to those unable to afford it. The program’s suspension had caused significant distress among patients, particularly those in need of multiple surgeries and unable to cover their medical expenses.

The newly elected government, with Ali Amin Gandapur as the Chief Minister, has taken charge this month and is committed to addressing the overbilling issues that plagued the program in the past. To this end, the number of hospitals on the Sehat Card panel has been reduced from 180 to 118, ensuring more stringent control and quality of services provided.

Minister Shah expressed regret over the past suspensions of the Sehat Card facilities and reassured the public that the treatment of about 1,800 ailments would be covered under the scheme. He emphasized that certain operations would now be conducted by government hospitals to mitigate the risk of overbilling.

Despite the government facing arrears of Rs18 billion, there is a strong resolve to overcome the financial hurdles and sustain the Sehat Card facility for the welfare of the people. The government has pledged to pay Rs5 billion per month to the insurance company to cover the program’s costs and ensure its continuity.

The Sehat Card Plus has been cited as a significant factor in PTI’s success in the February 8 general election in KP, reflecting the public’s appreciation for the healthcare initiative. The program’s revival is seen as a testament to the government’s dedication to public welfare and its efforts to navigate through the economic challenges faced by the province.

Patients across KP had been eagerly awaiting the restoration of the program, and the recent announcement has been met with relief and gratitude. The Health Department has also released a list of hospitals participating in the program, addressing the challenges such as over-billing and irregularities by revising operational procedures in government hospitals.

As the holy month of Ramadan approaches, the Hayatabad Medical Complex (HMC) in Peshawar has also reinstated medical services under the Sehat card facility. The hospital administration has prioritized extending facilities to patients from remote areas enrolled in the health facility program.

The resumption of the Sehat Card services marks a pivotal moment for healthcare in KP, offering a lifeline to those in dire need of medical assistance. It underscores the government’s commitment to ensuring that healthcare remains accessible and affordable for all citizens, regardless of their financial status.

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