ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today launched National Health Progam for free medical treatment, of the poor and destitute people.

Addressing a function in Islamabad, he said the program is being launched in 15 districts at the preliminary stage and will be expanded to 23 districts later on.

The Prime Minister said the program will be implemented in phases to ensure health insurance to the poor of the entire country.

He said free treatment will be provided to patients suffering from seven fatal diseases like diabetes, cancer and liver impairment.

Nawaz Sharif said medical facilities will be provided at both the government and private hospitals.

He said, “three hundred thousand rupees will be provided to each patient suffering from a fatal disease; however, Baitul Mal will provide additional money if necessary for treatment.” He said that program is a step towards fulfilment of the PML-N promise for the establishment of a welfare state.

The Prime Minister said the poor will not have to sell their belongings and house-hold items to get treatment and purchase medicines.

The Prime Minister said strong action will be taken against those who attempt to create hurdles in the way of the implementation of the program, or misuse it.

The Prime Minister said that the government is giving priority to social sectors like education and health. He said the government will take all the provincial governments along to provide maximum facilities to the poor.

He said prices of diesel and kerosine oil will be reduced.

Speaking on the occasion, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said the government wants to expand welfare programs to the entire country. He said funds for the assistance of deserving people had been increased to 95 billion rupees from 30 billion rupees.

Addressing the ceremony Minister of State for Health Sariah Afzal has said public-private program will provide free health facilities to the poor segment of the society.

Our correspondent reports, health cards will be issued to 1.2 million families in 15 districts in the first phase. The implementation of the program in Islamabad will be monitored to improve it with the passage of time.

The program is aimed at providing quality healthcare to the poor in public and private hospitals.

Initially the program is being started in fifteen districts of the country. Under the program health care cards will be issued to the beneficiaries on which they will get free medical treatment of seven diseases. 1.2 million card holder families will get this facility in the first phase.

The Prime Minister was given detailed briefing about the program. Federal Ministers Ishaq Dar, Khurram Dastagir, Minister of State for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Saira Afzal Tarar, Minister of State for Interior Baleeghur Rehman, Minister for CADD Dr. Tariq Fazal and Maryam Nawaz Sharif were also present.