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.     

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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.”