Pakistan Emerges as First Country in the World to Embrace DCP3

National discourse for the development and implementation of the UHC benefit package will review localized scientific evidence on the cost-effectiveness and burden of diseases in Pakistan and using the information to prioritize health interventions for essential health services

Pakistan

The Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (NHSR&C) has initiated a national discourse for the development and implementation of UHC benefit package.

The initiative has been taken in partnership with the Provincial/area Departments of Health; the Disease Control Priorities 3 Secretariat at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), WHO and other partners.

The purpose is finalizing an evidence-based Universal Health Coverage (UHC) benefits package for Pakistan.

UHC Benefit Package for Pakistan

A national discourse for the development and implementation of the UHC benefit package will review localized scientific evidence on the cost-effectiveness and burden of diseases in Pakistan and using the information to prioritize health interventions for essential health services.

Special Advisor to Prime Minister/Minister of State, Dr. Zafar Mirza, while addressing the inaugural session said: “Pakistan is the first country in the world to use localized evidence on Disease Control Priorities 3 and Burden of Disease to develop an essential package of health services/UHC benefit package for Pakistan.”

He said that “Achievement of this milestone and implementation of the package in the future will help the country in improving health outcomes and making speedy progress towards UHC.”

In partnership with WHO, the DCP3 secretariat funded by the Bill & Malinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) is providing technical support to the government of Pakistan through LSHTM, Radboud University, Aga Khan University, and Health Services Academy to assist the development of the UHC benefit package of Pakistan.

Representative of the DCP3 secretariat, Dr. Ala Alwan said, “There are inequalities in access to health care in Pakistan along with insufficient implementation of long-term strategic planning for the health workforce, inadequate national capacity in key areas – such as public health and family medicine, inadequate access to essential technologies and medicines, a large, unexploited and unregulated private health sector and fragmented health information systems.”

Dr. Awan added, “We are working with the government of Pakistan to address these gaps along with evidence-based strategic work for the development of an essential package of health services and inter-sectoral interventions.”

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Professor Anna Vassal from the LSHTM said, “Based on disease burden in Pakistan and considering the cost-effectiveness of different health interventions, scientific tools are being used to produce a health package at different levels of health care delivery system in Pakistan.”

Prof Vassal added, “The government in Pakistan can optimize the health package by adjusting the total budget, financial risk protection, and equity weight.”

Presenting the draft essential package of health services, Dr. Assad Hafeez, Director General (Health) informed the audience that adequate evidence & research for defining essential health services, followed by effective implementation of the services to all people is the best solution for the effective functioning of the health system in Pakistan and delivering UHC results.

The approach will be piloted through a model health care system in ICT for universal health care and a pre-pilot has already been launched at Shah Allah Ditta Community Health Centre in the suburbs of Islamabad.

Representatives of the provincial/area departments of health and other stakeholders appreciated the efforts of the ministry of not only bringing all provinces, federating areas and stakeholders to the same table but also setting a comprehensive strategic direction through an inclusive consultative process. They committed that this will become a starting point for an effective delivery of essential health services at different levels of healthcare delivery.

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