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LAHORE: With focus on reforms in health sector, the Punjab government has allocated an amount of Rs 300 billion for health sector in its budget for 2021-22. As per budget document, about Rs 96 billion have been set aside for development budget. Out of which Rs 17,212 million have been allocated for Specialised Healthcare & Medical Education and Rs 78,700 for Primary & Secondary Healthcare department.

Committed to achieve the federal government target of vaccinating 70 million people across the country, the Punjab government had already allocated Rs 1.5 billion for procuring Corona vaccines in addition to vaccine doses received from the federal government.

For the financial year 2021-22, the Punjab government has allocated Rs 13 billion for Covid-related expenditures mainly aiming for vaccinating maximum possible people. The Punjab government developed a comprehensive and holistic response to Covid-19 through the responsive investment in social protection and economic stimulus (RISE) Framework. This document integrates seven critical pillars which provide Punjab with a realistic framework to overcome the current health, economic and social protection challenges.

The government has decided to give a blanket cover of health insurance card to the entire population of the province and has allocated Rs80 billion for the project. A long-awaited air ambulance service project will also be initiated with initial seed money.

One of the key initiatives that the Punjab government undertook is the provision of health cards to under-privileged households so their healthcare needs may be effectively met. Over 5.4 million households have received health cards until now and by December 2021 the health card will provide universal health coverage to the 110 million inhabitants of Punjab. The construction of a 1,000-bed hospital would be started in Lahore at a cost of Rs 14 billion while Rs 3 billion modern trauma centers will also be set up in 14 cities.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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