Dr. Nausheen Hamid, Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of National Health Services, on March 5th tweeted about her visit to the construction site of the basic health unit (BHU) in Golra. Under the health reform initiative, 13 new primary and secondary health care units are being constructed in the periphery of Islamabad.
Prior to her visit to the construction site of BHU Golra, she visited Shah Allah Ditta on March 3rd, where new construction of community health center was underway. The community health center, once completed, will be a 41 bedded facility with a gynecologist, surgeon, pediatrician, and with lab facilities such as ultrasound and X-Ray.
Moreover, the community health center will also have a minor OT and a dental clinic. Since its election, the PTI government has focused on reforming the health sector and, in that effort, has introduced revolutionary reforms in a short span of time. The reforms are aimed at providing quality healthcare facilities to the people at subsidized rates.
— Dr. Nausheen Hamid (@DrNausheenPTI) March 5, 2022
The most notable reform by the current government in the health sector was the Prime Minister’s launch of the Sehat Card in Punjab. Prior to this, the Sehat Card was already underway in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and had received a lot of praise.
Under the initiative in KP, more than 7.2 million families are covered, and till now, approximately 730,000 (almost 10 percent) users have benefitted from this and received free or, in some cases, subsidized healthcare facilities. Prime Minister’s launch of Sehat Card in Punjab marked another triumph for the PTI government.
Presently, the SSP covers seven out of nine districts in Punjab and approximately 86 percent of the total families in Punjab. Once full coverage is given, the scheme would take around 110 million people under its umbrella.
Under the health card, an aid of one million would be given to the families per year and would only cover for the indoor operations – all types of major ailments, treatment of chronic diseases – and not for outdoor treatments which do not require the patients to be admitted into the hospital. Under the health reforms initiative, the health sector’s budget has increased manifold compared to the past years.
The Chief Minister of Punjab, talking about health reforms, said that the budget had been increased by 118% during the last three years and now stands at around Rs 369 billion. Following this increase, the per-person spending on health, which stood at around $45 according to a survey in 2017-18, witnessed a significant increase.
However, it is still a long way from the suggested minimum amount a government should spend on health which peaks at around $86 per person, according to the High-Level Taskforce on Innovative International Financing for Health Systems. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa increased its health allocation in the provincial budget 2021-22 to Rs 142bn from Rs 124bn. The federal budget on health also saw an increase.
PTI government also inaugurated the Ehsaas Nashonuma to fight stunted growth. Ehsaas Nashonuma facilitates pregnant women through nutrition and works for the health of children in the first 1000 days. Numerous hospitals were also inaugurated as part of the health reform initiative.
PM Khan talking about his flagship heal initiative, said that “the program has created an atmosphere of competition between public and private hospitals and as a result, people would receive quality services.” The aim of the PTI government is to strengthen the structure and restore public confidence in public hospitals.