The Sehat Insaf Card Scheme launched by Prime Minister Imran Khan has been welcomed at all levels. Ever since the new government took charge, they have had to take difficult decisions which have impacted the average households in Pakistan. With an already poor health system in the country and the growing rise in treatment costs, the pressure on an average Pakistani family increases especially in case of an illness. To counter this problem and make their lives more manageable, this scheme has been launched. It will cater to Islamabad, then the tribal areas and will lastly expand to the rest of Pakistan.

The great aspect of the initiative is that it has already been tested out in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) during the last Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) tenure. Under the new scheme, over 80 million people – or 10.5 million households below the poverty line – will receive free medical treatment worth Rs720,000 in private or state-owned hospitals. Around 15m people will receive the cards over the next two years. The only treatment which is not available for these card holders is a transplant, otherwise, they will be getting treatment for any health-related issue that comes up.

Quality health care is the need of the country and was on the agenda of the PTI government. The Sehat cards that will be distributed are going to maintain a database for the government because the process is being monitored by the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) in real time. This will allow more transparency in the process and will also ensure that the amount allotted for the treatment of the common man does not go to waste and is used to help those who cannot afford these treatments on their own.

Pakistan’s health system is in need of reforms in order to be able to successfully run a program like this. Hospitals are already overburdened with the current patient ratio. Hiring should be increased along with the salaries offered to doctors to ensure that they do not direct these patients to their personal clinics. Medical machinery needs to be updated along with a steady ambulance network. The Sindh assembly recently adopted the Amal Umer Medical Bill, which states that critical patients will be provided treatment despite the legality of the cases and the costs will be taken up by the provincial government. Bills like these, if adopted on a national level, can certainly help improve the health status in Pakistan.