PESHAWAR: As Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan provided orders to include liver transplantation in the Sehat Sahulat Scheme, the number of hospital admissions under the free health initiative has tripled after last month’s expansion to the entire Zone-I community (Malakand Division).
Free treatment scheme:
At a meeting here on Wednesday, the chief minister Mahmood Khan ordered the authorities concerned to include patients needing liver transplantation under the scheme, which was being phase-wisely expanded to the entire population of the province.
Number of hospital admissions tripled under the programme
Dr. Mohammad Riaz Tanoli, Director of the Sehat Sahulat Program (SSP), told Dawn that the expansion of the health insurance programme to Zone-II was expected to begin on December 1, following Zone-I, where complete population coverage started on November 1.
Compared to last month, admissions in Zone-1 increased three-fold as it included only those who had Sehat Insaf Cards (SICs). We have admitted 74 patients in the month of October, but the number of hospitalizations is 162 until 16 November,’ he added.
Dr. Riaz said that the number of patients admitted per day was roughly 11, relative to the previous month, when 2,5 patients were admitted per day.
He said the expansion of the programme to the entire population of the province had begun from Zone-I (Malakand) to Hazara on 1 December, Mardan and Peshawar on 1 January, and Kohat, Bannu and Dera Ismail on 1 February.
For a total of 1,389,327 families, including 572,036 in Swat, 228,054 in Malakand, 301,310 in Lower Dir, 172,878 in Dir Upper and 115,049 in Chitral, 37 public and private hospitals in Zone-I have been designated to receive free care under the scheme, he added.
On 1 January, the SSP will have been expanded to all seven million provincial citizens. The government has already allotted Rs18 billion to provide the entire population of the province with free healthcare facilities.
Together with KfW, a German bank, the initiative was initiated in 2015 in four districts, representing three per cent of the province’s population. In 2016, it was expanded to 51% of the population and 69% in 2017, and to the entire province in 2020.
We have supported more than 280,000 patients in the province with free screening and recovery services so far. A total of Rs8 billion was spent on medical care,’ said Dr Riaz.
He said it will be expanded to Zone-II in the next process to include Abbottabad, Mansehra, Kohistan, Torghar, Shanghla and Buner. He said that the coverage process for the whole province was ongoing, but the service was available to persons who had already been given SICs in all districts.
Dr. Riaz said that in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the SSP was initiated and replicated in other provinces of the country. He added that Health Minister Taimur Salim Jhagra was actively monitored to ensure its compliance in the province and to benefit each and every patient, regardless of financial standing.
Previously, under the scheme, only the eligible persons were allowed to use free treatment facility, but now all residents have access to free care facilities with identification cards from KP.
Dr Riaz said that the selection of hospitals under a clear system was in progress for the remaining districts. “In order to ensure that patients get reliable care, there is a method of controlling the empaneled hospitals and those who do not comply with SSP agreements will see their contracts revoked,” he said.