PESHAWAR - Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has launched health insurance scheme “Sehat Sahulat Programme” under its social health protection initiatives in district Mardan.

Provincial Minister for Health Shahram Khan Tarakai along with Minister Education Atif Khan formally launched the scheme in District Mardan by giving away ‘Sehat Cards’ to deserving families in a function held in Mardan on Friday.

Under the scheme ‘Sehat Cards’ will be issued to the needy and deserving households through which as many as seven members of the household will avail free medical treatment facilities of Rs 25000 per head per annum from nominated hospitals.

Addressing the function Senior Minister for Health Shahram Tarakai termed the initiative as a revolutionary pro-poor step of the provincial government and said that more than 0.4 million people of at least 60,000 needy households of district Mardan will be benefit from the scheme.

He said that initially the scheme was being launched in four selected districts of the province including Chitral, Malakand, Mardan and Kohat with a cost of 1.4 billion rupees per annum and in next phases the scheme will be extended to other districts.

“Provision of improved healthcare facilities in one of the top priorities of provincial government and the launching of health insurance scheme was an important step towards this end”, Shahram said.

He added that the scheme will not only provide free healthcare facilities to the poor segment of society but will also help reduce poverty ratio in the province.

He further said that “Sehat Sahulat Program” was the maiden and unique program in the history of the country which will benefit 0.7 million people of at least 0.1 million households.

Touching upon the reforms initiatives of this government undertaken to strengthen the health sector, the provincial minister maintained that a package to the tune of Rs 3.3 billion had been approved to give special financial incentives to doctors serving in far flung districts with the aim to ensure the provision of healthcare facilities to the people of these areas at their door steps.

Shahram disclosed that as many as 1500 nurses, 600 paramedics and district health specialists were being recruited to make up the deficiencies of medical staff in hospitals and hoped that the public would see a big difference in health sector within next couple of months.

Addressing the function Provincial Minister for Education Atif Khan termed the launching of health insurance scheme a practical step towards change. He said that it was the foremost duty of any government in power to provide free healthcare and education facilities to its citizens.

General Manager, State Life Insurance Saleem Khan, Project Director Sihat Sahulat Programme Dr Riaz Tanoli and DHO Mardan Dr Basit Saleem also addressed the function.

The function was attended by MNA Mujahid Khan, MPA Iftikhar Mashwani, Tehsil Nazim Mardan, Haji Ayub, high ups of district administration, elected members of local bodies and media persons.