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ISLAMABAD: More than 30 million families in Punjab and over 200,000 families in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) will have access to Sehat Sahulat Programme by the end of this year as the provincial and federal governments have already accorded approval for the provision of healthcare facility to all the residents of Pakistan’s largest province as well as federal capital.

In this context, Punjab’s provincial cabinet has already granted approval for the provision of Sehat Sahulat Card to the entire province while federal government has also approved the same healthcare facility for the residents of Islamabad latest by December 31, 2021.

Punjab government, with the support of federal government, would provide up to Rs 70 billion to State Life Insurance Corporation of Pakistan for healthcare facility in Punjab, a senior government official told Business Recorder, requesting not to be named.

This budget would also include health coverage for the residents of Islamabad, the source said.

The government is also planning to extend Sehat Sahulat facility for all the residents of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) in the ongoing year, the modalities for which are being finalised, the official said. Prime Minister Imran Khan, although, publicly committed to extend Sehat Sahulat Programme in the entire Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) but it is unlikely before general elections in the valley, Business Recorder has learnt.

Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) is in power in AJK and it does not want Sehat Sahulat Programme in AJK fearing that the same would benefit Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in general elections scheduled this year, government sources told Business Recorder.

“We are hopeful to form next government in AJK. If this happens, then Sehat Sahulat Programme for all the residents of AJK would be materialised for sure,” said a PTI lawmaker.

The launch of Sehat Sahulat Programme in Balochistan in collaboration with provincial government is also in the pipeline, he said. However, no practical headway has been made to extend the healthcare facility in Sindh where Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is in power, it is learnt.

So far, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is the only province where the entire population of over or around eight million families has been given Sehat Sahulat Programme facility.

The federal and provincial governments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are paying over Rs 21 billion to State Life Insurance Corporation as annual premium for the provision of healthcare insurance to 8 million deserving families under Sehat Sahulat Programme, a KP government official told Business Recorder.

Unlike the past when Sehat Insaf Cards were issued to the beneficiaries of Sehat Sahulat Programme, this healthcare service is now activated on Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs) of the citizens, without requiring any card except CNIC, he said.

The citizens can simply visit the empanelled government and private hospitals that offer Sehat Sahulat Programme for free treatment on their CNICs, the official said adding that citizens who belong to KP do not require to check their eligibility with NADRA (National Database and Registration Authority) for Sehat Sahulat Programme anymore. This healthcare facility is activated on any CNIC that has either present or permanent postal address (or both) falling in KP, the official said adding that the same facility is being extended to the rest of the country in a phase-wise manner.

The health coverage to the deserving families is under two categories - major and secondary diseases. Major refers to serious illness with up to Rs 600,000 limit such as cardiac, liver, kidney, hepatitis diabetes and secondary referring to relatively minor ailments with up to Rs 120,000 on hospitalisation.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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