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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday said provision of Sehat Cards to citizens would ensure complete and free of cost health coverage, which was unimaginable in the country’s history.

Addressing the launching ceremony of Sehat Sahulat card for Sahiwal and Dera Ghazi Khan Divisions, the prime minister said now with the extension of health card facility to every family of the Punjab province, the poor people would no longer have to worry about the medical treatment.

He said every family in these two divisions could now avail health treatment worth Rs720,000. They could get health facilities in all the public and private hospitals alike.

As informed by the Punjab minister for health, Rs 300,000 additional amount could be given to the deserving families when required, he added.

The prime minister said the system of universal health coverage initiative was new for the countrymen and stressed that they would have to keep vigilance.

”It will become a safety net and end health concerns of the poor people,” he added.

The prime minister also underlined the need to encourage the private sector to fully participate in health initiatives.

He observed that the government-owned lands could be offered to the private sector at affordable prices for the construction of hospitals and other health facilities especially in the far flung areas of the country.

The prime minister said he wanted that every family in Punjab should have health card facility. He said the country was burdened with huge debts in the past and they had to pay back the debts with interest causing further financial burden.

The prime minister appreciating the chief ministers of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said despite all financial constraints, the two provinces did great job with launch of the health cards initiative covering their whole population. He asked the Punjab chief minister to pay special attention to those backward areas of the province that had been left behind in terms of development. The prime minister noted that migration of the masses from rural to urban areas took place due to lack of job opportunities and basic facilities, multiplying population of cities, which led to multitude of serious civic issues like sewerage and scarcity of drinking water.

"The development must be all areas inclusive, so that no area should be left behind," he emphasized.

Imran Khan regretted that Pakistan had to become an Islamic welfare state, but it could not achieve that objective.

The prime minister highlighting the motive behind launch of the health cards facility, further said the poor families did not have enough resources to meet their health requirements.

He said the consideration for the plight of poor families had led to the establishment of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital (SKMH). Under the health insurance, all such basic requirements would be met, he expressed the confidence.

The prime minister said in Pakistan, child mortality rate and ratio of pregnant mothers’ deaths had been very high, so it was prerequisite to establish health facilities in all the backward areas.

Imran also appreciated the solarization of all basic health units in the backward areas of Punjab province as a very good initiative.

He said some 50-60 years back, Pakistan had been excelling in the world in every sector of life.

The prime minister said the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) established a state, which took the responsibility of feeble segments of the society. The world had never seen such a revolution as the weak people rose to prominence. The humanity and rule of law had been given consideration, he added.

During his stay in the United Kingdom, he said, he had witnessed two things linked with the functioning of a welfare state, including the rule of law as everyone was treated equally, and secondly, provision of free health facility to each British, besides unemployment benefits, free legal aid and free education with high standard.

The prime minister also directed the Punjab Inspector General of Police to take strict action against dacoit gangs in the areas, which had been pestering the local people with their inhuman acts.

Earlier, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar apprised that different uplift projects worth Rs 21 billion were underway in Layyah. He said every resident in the province would get health cards facility by the end of the year. Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmeen Rashid said a vast network of health facilities would cater to the health requirements of the residents of province.


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