Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Naya Pakistan Sehat Card: A Giant Step Toward Universal Healthcare

Prime Minister Imran Khan launched Sehat Card in Punjab, Pakistan 's largest province, on International Universal Healthcare Day 2021. This is essentially a government-funded health insurance program run by insurance companies to cover up to one million rupees worth of care each year at government certified public and private clinics and hospitals.  It represents a major expansion of this program which was first introduced in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.  It is now available to residents of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Balochistan, Gilgit Baltistan, Azad Kashmir, and Tharparkar district in Sindh under the Sehat Sahulat Program. 

Universal Healthcare Map. Source: World Population Review

Health Card: 

Speaking at the launch event in Lahore, Prime Minister Imran Khan said, “This is a landmark. This is a defining moment towards our course to make Pakistan a welfare state.” “This is not (just) a health insurance (but) rather a health system. Now (the) private sector will build hospitals even in villages where the basic health units remain vacant as no doctor desires to be posted there. Now (the) private sector will come and (the) poorest of the poor will get free treatment,” he added.   

Pakistan Sehat Card

Sehat card was first introduced in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) by Taimur Jhagra, a former McKinsey consultant who now holds both the health and finance ministry portfolios in the province. Talking with The Telegraph newspaper reporters, he said: “It shows us we can do big things in this country in a short amount of time". He went on: “It's giving quality access to those that tend to be viewed by many as second class citizens and deserving of only second class facilities.” 

The Sehat Card program will fund both public and private healthcare, Mr. Jhagra said. “We are not funding the private sector, we are funding health care for our citizens, wherever they want.,” he said. The Telegraph has spoken with patients using the program in KP. They say it has delivered them from the worry of medical debt, where serious illness often means having to sell land or livestock, or take out loans, to pay medical bills.  

Monthly Usage of Sehat Card in KP. Source: Government of KP

Sehat card is being widely used in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province with a population of over 30 million. There is data available to understand how the program is being funded. Here's an excerpt of The Telegraph story on it: "Treatment is provided through approved public or private hospitals and the comparatively low cost of healthcare in Pakistan has meant the state-owned insurance provider has been able to provide cover at around £3 ($3.97) per head. The card is currently costing 22bn rupees (£93m  or $123m) out of a total health budget in the province of 146bn rupees (£620m or $820m)"

The final hold-out in Pakistan is Sindh province with its nearly 50 million people. Prime Minister Imran Khan has urged Sindh's ruling party, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), to launch Sehat Card and other social sector programs in Sindh as well. 

Ehsaas Satisfaction Survey. Source: Gallup

Ehsaas Social Welfare Program:

Ehsaas Program was established by Prime Minister Imran Khan in 2019. Aimed at helping the poor and the needy, it has several elements ranging from cash hand-outs and education to health and nutrition. 

A recent survey conducted by Gallup Pakistan confirms that the program is very popular among the people. Nearly 3 out of 4 Pakistanis (76%) have a good opinion about the Ehsaas program.  Nearly 9 in 10 (89%) Pakistanis who have received assistance from the program are satisfied with the amount of money received.  90% of Pakistanis believe that the program should be expanded to include more people, according to the survey.     

Related Links:


Mansoor Khan said...

Why only Tharparkar District in Sindh? What about the other districts there? Must we play politics in every decision 🙄
I shudder to think what Karachiites will do if welfare institutions just vanished from the scene in Karachi.

Riaz Haq said...

MK: "Why only Tharparkar District in Sindh?"

Health is a provincial subject. It’s the responsibility of Sindh govt to fund it which it is not willing to do. Federal government stepped in Tharparkar because it’s an acute health crisis.

samir sardana said...

Sehat card means that,we have a digital health history,of millions.That becomes the point of intersection,for the following:

Health and Life insurance
Free Bank accounts with Nil minimum balances,and free cheque books,and free ATM,once in a month
Ration cards for BPL
Crop and Cattle insurance
Educational subsidies for children and nutritional aid schemes,for children
Educational loans
Tracking educational performance of millions of school children

Technology,Convergence and Intersection = Salvation of the Pakistani people !

Then this entire model can be replicated in Africa,South America and other countries,like Yemen.dindooohindoo

Jiye Jiye Pakistan !

Riaz Haq said...

Faseeh Mangi
Pakistan's subsidized house finance scheme data
-260b rupees ($1.5 billion) requested by people
-109b rupees ($600 million) approved for small houses
- 32b rupees disbursed



Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday formally launched the Naya Pakistan Card initiative, bringing mega welfare programmes of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government covering health, education, food and agriculture sectors under one umbrella.


With the launch of Naya Pakistan Card, which covers Ehsaas Ration Programme based on a food subsidy package for low-income families, Kisan Card, Sehat Card and scholarships for students, beneficiaries of various initiatives can avail all services on the same card.

Addressing the ceremony held at the Governor House, Prime Minister Khan said that Kamyab Pakistan scheme was also in the pipeline under which two million eligible families would receive Rs400,000 interest-free loans for self-employment, free technical education to one member of each registered family, Rs2.7 million loan for house construction and free health insurance.

He said the proposed Kamyab Pakistan programme to be launched in the KP province would be extended to other provinces later.

Says a project promising interest-free loan for 2m eligible families is on the anvil

Besides, the government was awarding 6.3m scholarships to students to encourage them to pursue higher education as Rs47bn had been allocated in this regard, he said.

In order to ensure award of scholarships on merit, a special cell was being set up at the PM secretariat to collect students’ data, he announced

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan launches national socioeconomic registry


The World Bank (WB) also congratulated Ehsaas for completing South Asia’s first digital National Socio-Economic Registry survey.

WB Country Director Najy Benhassine, while speaking at the ceremony, said, “I congratulate the Government of Pakistan and Ehsaas on achieving this historical milestone.” He said that the bank feels proud to be the technical partner in this “game-changer survey”.

“This is not just Pakistan’s but also South Asia’s first digitally-enabled socioeconomic census. It will be really transformative that the registry will now facilitate data sharing for social protection programmes of the federal government, provinces, government departments and development agencies,” he added.

Director-General Naveed Akbar outlined the design, end-to-end digital methodology, approaches and rigorous transparency measures embedded in the execution of the survey.

UNRC Resident Coordinator Julien Harneis, Secretary Ismat Tahira, and senior representatives of government departments, Asian Development Bank (ADB), development partners and media professionals also attended the event.


Ehsaas, the flagship welfare programme of the government, successfully accomplished a countrywide National Socioeconomic Registry Survey which includes households’ information in terms of geographic data, demographics, socioeconomic status, education, health, disability, employment, energy consumption, assets, communications, agri-landholdings, WASH, livestock, etc.

Ehsaas conducted a door-to-door computer-aided survey all across the country to gather data about the socioeconomic status of households. In conclusion, this will be the most reliable dataset for the use of public sector institutions, think tanks and development agencies for designing social protection and poverty alleviation programmes.

The data sharing will be steered through the Cognitive API Architecture approach. There will be two-way data sharing; agencies with whom data will be shared will also be required to update the registry with their own information.

Addressing the launch ceremony, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection Senator Dr Sania Nishtar said, “Part of Ehsaas strategy, we have just concluded a new National Socioeconomic Registry of 34.41 million households. We did various validations of the data to precisely identify the real poor.”

“With the readiness of survey, we are now transiting from static to dynamic registry to make it more targeting efficient and to avoid possible inclusion and exclusion errors occurred due to continuous change in socioeconomic status of the households especially due to demographic change,” the SAPM said. “Tehsil-level Ehsaas Registration Desks have also been opened all over the country to keep the national socioeconomic registry dynamic.”

Riaz Haq said...

Javed Hassan
Superb initiative of school meals program for 23000 students of 100 Public primary schools of Islamabad by Fed Min of Education under
. The program will help in ensuring significant reduction in dropouts and improved learning .



“The ‘School Meal Program’ improved the attendance, health, and retention of students in schools where the program has already been initiated,” the (Punjab) minister said.

He said that the schools under this program have seen a 33 percent increase in attendance, and a 77 percent improvement in students’ health, and their BMI levels.


Riaz Haq said...

SDG Rankings Report 2021:


Central African Republic 38.27 165

Nigeria 48.93 160

Haiti 51.35 150

Uganda 53.15 140

Rwanda 57.58 130

Pakistan score 57.72 rank 129

India 60.07 120

Bangladesh 63.45 109

Nepal 66.52 96

Sri Lanka 68.10 87

Bhutan 69.98 75

China 62.07 57

Russia 73.75 46

US 76.01 32

UK 79.97 17

Finland 85.90 1

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan women fight gender norms to build online health business
by Zofeen T. Ebrahim |


Growing number of Pakistani women jump into health tech

Women founders face multiple barriers in conservative Pakistan

Mental health care not considered legitimate

Pakistan, April 28 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - After surviving a car crash that left her hospital-bound and unable to walk for months, Saira Siddique embarked on a mission: making health care accessible to Pakistanis.

The 45-year-old left her high-profile job in government health to pitch her app linking doctors and patients by video to investors.

Months later, with COVID-19 hurting businesses across Pakistan, Siddique's firm, MedIQ, burst on to the scene as the country's first "virtual hospital".

"(The pandemic) really gave a boost to my company," said Siddique.

With face-to-face doctors' appointments restricted due to contagion risks, Siddique's company, connecting patients across Pakistan with doctors and pharmacies, was suddenly in demand.

MedIQ served 16,000 patients in its first six months. Almost two years on, the number has increased by nearly 20 times.

Siddique is one of a growing number of women in Pakistan who are defying conservative gender norms by jumping into the health tech industry.

"Running a startup business is like riding a bull," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from the capital Islamabad.

"You never know which way or how hard it's going to buck."

Siddique's company raised $1.8 million in an early stage of financing last week after receiving mentoring in the World Bank-backed WeRaise programme, which helps women-led ventures in Pakistan raise capital.

Others are blazing a similar path.

Two entrepreneurs in Karachi wanted to use the untapped potential of tens of thousands of so-called "doctor brides" - women doctors who quit their medical practise after marriage in a country where millions have no access to medical care.

Iffat Zafar Aga and Sara Saeed Khurram's platform allows female medics to provide e-consultations from their homes to patients in mostly rural communities.

In the country of some 210 million the doctor-patient ratio stands at just a little over one for every 1,000 patients, according to the World Bank.

Countries such as the United States, Japan and Brazil have more than two doctors for every 1,000 patients, while Britain has nearly four.

The pair has set up dozens of 'e-health clinics' in low-income communities where, for as little as 80 rupees ($0.43), a patient visits a nurse who uses the online platform to reach a doctor.

Khurram said they provided free consultations during COVID-19 after the government sought their help - a task made possible by their team of 7,000 doctors, many of whom are former doctor brides.

The phenomenon of doctor brides remains pervasive with many families encouraging their daughters to study medicine not for a career, but to bolster marriage prospects.

More than 70% of the country's doctors are women, but only half will ever practise, according to the Pakistan Medical Commission.

From domestic violence to anxiety over job losses and grief of losing family members to Covid-19, requests for virtual appointments on ReliveNow, an online mental health care platform, surged during lockdowns.

Amna Asif, its founder and CEO, said most of the clients were women, including single mothers, struggling to juggle children while working from home.

"This put us on the radar, and helped increase our sales," said Asif by phone.

Founded in 2018, ReliveNow has clients - 80% of whom are women - in dozens of countries including Pakistan, Britain, Canada and Australia.

But the road to success for firms like MediIQ and Sehat Kahani has been paved with misogyny, stereotypes and discouragement.

Riaz Haq said...

Sindh to Finally Get #Rescue 1122 After Almost Two Decades. #PPP gov't in #Sindh has procured 288 new #ambulances and a loan of $70 million from the #WorldBank to launch the service. #Punjab launched it in 2004 in #Musharraf era. #Pakistan #emergency https://propakistani.pk/2022/05/10/sindh-to-finally-get-rescue-1122-after-almost-two-decades/

After noticing its effectiveness in Punjab, the Sindh government has decided to launch the Rescue 1122 emergency response service. The Punjab government launched this service in 2004, giving it an 18-year-headstart over Sindh.

According to a media report, the government has procured 288 new ambulances and a loan of $70 million from the World Bank to launch the service.

Sources say that authorities will deliver new ambulances to the health department soon. They added that Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) will begin work on the mobilization of Rescue 1122 next week.

Sources further stated that the ambulance service will work under Aman Foundation, while the fire brigade will operate under the Local Government and Community Development (LG&CD) department of Sindh.

The government will set up Rescue 1122’s regional offices in all divisional headquarters and will continue to use PDMA’s machinery and staff to diffuse emergency situations.

Rescue 1122 will have five offices in Karachi. Also, the Sindh government will likely integrate the service with 10,000 cameras at 2,000 locations across the mega-city as a part of its latest Safe City project.

Riaz Haq said...

World Bank approves $258m to support healthcare in Pakistan


The World Bank has approved $258 million to strengthen primary health care systems and accelerate national efforts towards universal health coverage in Pakistan, a press release issued by the international financial institution said on Wednesday.

The National Health Support Programme "complements ongoing investments in human capital and builds on health reforms that aim to improve quality and equitable access to healthcare services, especially in communities lagging behind national and regional-level health outcomes".

It identified three areas of focus for healthcare reforms under the initiative: healthcare coverage and quality of essential services, governance and accountability and healthcare financing.

Elaborating on these areas, the statement said the programme focused on healthcare coverage and quality of essential services to ensure availability of adequate staffing, supplies and medicines and to enhance patient referral systems for expediting emergency and higher-level care.

Similarly, the focus on governance and accountability was intended to strengthen oversight and management of primary healthcare services through real-time monitoring of available supplies and essential medicines.

The statement further explained that initiatives in this area included setting up a central information platform for provincial authorities to assess gaps in service delivery across public and private healthcare facilities.

Moreover, the focus on healthcare financing was to improve the financial management of primary healthcare centres for better expenditure tracking and budget forecasting to sustain quality healthcare services and delivery.

"The programme will benefit all communities through improvements to provincial primary healthcare systems, particularly [those] in approximately 20 districts that suffer from having the least access to health and nutrition services," the press release read.

According to the press release, the NHSP is co-financed by the International Development Association ($258 million) and two grants ($82 million) from the Global Financing Facility (GEF) for Women, Children and Adolescents (GFF), including a $40 million grant for protecting essential health services amid multiple global crises.

“The partnership between the GFF and the government of Pakistan focuses on building sustainable health systems while ensuring that all women, children and adolescents, especially in the most vulnerable communities can access the services they need amid multiple crises,” the statement quoted Monique Vledder, head of secretariat at GFF as saying.

"By investing in primary health care, strengthening the health workforce and equipping community health centres to both respond to emergencies and deliver quality services, Pakistan can drive a more equitable and resilient recovery,” she added.

World Bank Country Director for Pakistan, Najy Benhassine explained that “by strengthening provincial health systems, this programme is foundational to building the country’s human capital and improving health and nutrition outcomes for its citizens".

“Pakistan continues to make strides in health reforms toward ensuring access to primary healthcare services, especially for children and women during pregnancy and childbirth,” he said.

Hnin Hnin Pyne, task team leader for the programme, said: “NHSP creates a national forum for the federal and provincial governments to exchange lessons and collaborate on achieving sustainable health financing and high quality and coverage of essential services. It also helps strengthen engagement between public and private facilities and better coordination among development partners on future investments in health.”

Riaz Haq said...

Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR)

Country Name Per 100K Live Births
India 145.00
Timor-Leste 142.00
Pakistan 140.00


Pakistan Maternal Mortality Rate 2000-2022


Maternal mortality ratio is the number of women who die from pregnancy-related causes while pregnant or within 42 days of pregnancy termination per 100,000 live births. The data are estimated with a regression model using information on the proportion of maternal deaths among non-AIDS deaths in women ages 15-49, fertility, birth attendants, and GDP.
Pakistan maternal mortality rate for 2017 was 140.00, a 2.1% decline from 2016.
Pakistan maternal mortality rate for 2016 was 143.00, a 7.14% decline from 2015.
Pakistan maternal mortality rate for 2015 was 154.00, a 4.35% decline from 2014.
Pakistan maternal mortality rate for 2014 was 161.00, a 3.01% decline from 2013.