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ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar Thursday inaugurated Ehsaas Tahafuz Project Management Unit, to manage the execution of Ehsaas Tahafuz, Pakistan's first 'shock-oriented' social safety initiatives that aims at protecting the vulnerable populations from 'catastrophic' health expenditures.

This unit has been launched at Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) headquarters. A 12-member team has been hired to meet the technical demands of the programme.

The unit would ensure the effective implementation of Ehsaas Tahafuz Programme which has not been launched yet. At the unit's launching ceremony, Sania Nishtar said Ehsaas Tahafuz will work with public hospitals to identify patients facing catastrophic health expenditures, who will then be assessed by the system, if eligible, will be provided funding by allocating donations to the patient. Tahafuz is being rolled out using a phased approach¸ she added.

Later, the SAPM chaired a meeting of the Ehsaas Tahafuz Steering Committee. The committee discussed and approved the beneficiary eligibility determination mechanism; treatment packages to be covered; and selection of service provider hospitals in line with programme assessment criteria for expanding Tahafuz pilot.

The committee also deliberated on the Ehsaas Catastrophic Health Expenditure Policy that is currently in the pipeline and it would link Tahafuz with the Sehat Sahulat Programme of the federal government. The Tahafuz Steering Committee has the mandate to provide managerial and strategic oversight to the Tahafuz Programme.

"Extensive one-year long work has been done on Ehsaas Tahafuz, Pakistan's first shock-oriented precision safety net. The programme aims at protecting the vulnerable populations from catastrophic health expenditures and is being pilot tested in one hospital, this quarter, following which it will be up-scaled later this year," Nishtar said at the meeting.

The programme will have strict oversight mechanisms to ensure transparency and effectively respond to any kind of foul play, she added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021