Free healthcare scheme for ‘poorest of the poor’

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday approved national health insurance scheme amid claims that it is designed to serve ‘poorest of the poor’ in Pakistan. The health insurance programme will cover, in phases, about 100 million people across country. Maryam Nawaz, the architect of the scheme, gave a detailed briefing to the prime minister, wherein a comparative study of major health blanket models of European Union, United States and India and options for implementing the scheme in Pakistan were discussed. The prime minster told the meeting that the health insurance programme is the only way forward to provide healthcare protection to economically deprived people of the society. The scheme is the first of its kind to introduce a grievance redressal system as well as social security safety net for the poor people of country. The programme will not only give the vulnerable sections of the society an access to cash-free health facilities but will also help to develop and revolutionise the health infrastructure across Pakistan. Nawaz said that the scheme will also enhance chances of public-private partnership in Pakistan and will open up further avenues for investment. While briefing the prime minister, Maryam Nawaz said that the scheme is designed on simple lines to ensure maximum cost-efficiency. The scheme would be completely apolitical and would provide a blanket for cash-free treatment to the poor people of country for major diseases like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus and related complications, burns and RTA, end-stage renal diseases and dialysis.

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