PM Imran launches Naya Pakistan National Sehat Card for Punjab

PM Imran launches Naya Pakistan National Sehat Card for Punjab

Lahore (Agencies): Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday formally launched the distribution of Naya Pakistan National Health Card for the entire population of Punjab.

As per the details, the health cards will enable every family in the province to avail medical treatment of up to Rs1 million per year at both government and private hospitals.

Addressing the launching ceremony in Lahore, the premier said under the program 30 million families would benefit from the health insurance facility which would cost Rs 400 billion to the government.

“Our forefathers had dreamed to make Pakistan an Islamic welfare state but unfortunately it could not be developed on that course,” PM Imran said.

Citing Madina State as first welfare state which fulfilled all basic responsibilities of its citizens, the prime minister said unfortunately, no such state was found in the Muslim world rather the Scandinavian states were close to that model.

Naming Denmark, Norway and Sweden, the prime minister said a state always believed in inclusive growth and had compassion for the weaker segment.

He said all the Scandinavian countries did not have more resources than Pakistan but they were more prosperous by having adopted the model of a welfare state.

PM Imran said that some leaders in the past claimed to make Pakistan an Asian Tiger which could in no way be greater than the idea of a welfare state like Madina.

The premier told the gathering that the time would prove that initiative of Sehat Card, involving almost equal funding, would have far better outcomes than the Metro Buses or Orange Train.

“All families across the province would get the Sehat Card by March and also resolved to replicate the model in Balochistan, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan,” PM Imran said.

The prime minister said the Sehat Card would lead towards the development of health infrastructure across the province as it would attract the private sector to build hospitals even in remote areas.

He said the government would close down the government hospitals in far-flung areas where the doctors did not want to be posted, to save the cost.

PM Imran said that the government would incentivize the private sector by allowing duty-free import of their equipment to expand the network of private hospitals.

The premier said that a silent revolution was in the making through the government’s initiative of housing construction loans by banks for the salaried class after the government removed all the impediments.

He said the people had applied for loans worth Rs 260 billion out of which Rs 110 billion worth loans had been approved and Rs 34 billion had already been disbursed.

He said under Kamyab Pakistan Programme, around 2 million people had been given interest-free loans for house building. Moreover, under the same program, a loan of Rs 0.5 million was also being given to the farmers and others to establish their own businesses.

Through the Ehsaas Ration scheme, almost 54% of the population was being given a 30% subsidy on the purchase of ghee, flour and pulses.

Earlier, the prime minister also distributed Sehat Cards among the beneficiaries.

In his address, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said that the provincial government had allocated Rs 399 billion health budget compared to Rs 169 billion from 2013-18.

He said 23 big hospitals were nearing completion, the up-gradation of 158 health facilities had been completed while 78 projects were in the pipeline.

“The provincial government was spending Rs 37.5 billion on the purchase of medicines,” he said.

The Punjab CM added that the government would soon fulfill its commitment by filling 100,000 vacancies.