Ehsaas Tahafuz programme is aimed at protecting patients from high medical expenses: Sania

Zubair Qureshi

On the eve of the World Health Day 2021, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Security & Poverty Alleviation, Senator Dr Sania Nishtar visited the Ehsaas Facilitation Center at the Holy Family Hospital and monitored the operations of the Ehsaas Tahafuz that is currently in its pilot phase.

During the course of the quick appraisal visit, Dr Sania held a meeting with Ehsaas Tahafuz’s technical team of medical experts, hospital administrators and programme verifiers to take stock of the progress and had a firsthand insight.

While briefing the media after the Tahafuz Stocktake, Dr Sania said “Ehsaas Tahafuz is Pakistan’s first shock-oriented precision safety net.”

The programme is centered on protecting the deserving patients from catastrophic health expenditures.

We are planning to enhance and expand its scale and scope later this year based on lessons of the pilot,” she said and continued, “The programme is yielding great results and is being up-scaled.”

This innovative “fund based” approach to health financing is complementing health insurance, to achieve universal health coverage (UHC) in Pakistan, a policy priority of our government to build back better, in a post COVID-19 context, said Dr Sania.

Ehsaas Tahafuz is being implemented in collaboration with the HFH to identify patients facing catastrophic health expenditures, who are not covered by Sehat Sahulat Card or are in hospital not registered with Sehat Sahulat programme; they are evaluated by the system, and if eligible, are provided funding by allocating donations to the patient.

To assist with this, a facilitation desk has also been established at the HFH to identify the eligible beneficiaries for the Tahafuz pilot.

Earlier, Dr Sania was welcomed by Dr Shazia Zeb Medical Superintendent of HFH and her team.

Alongside, Muhammad Ali Shahzada, Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) and senior officials from Ehsaas Tahafuz team were also in attendance.

Currently, the programme is patient centric and caters to one-time high health costs for those who lack ability to bear the heavy expenditures.

When fully operationalized, Ehsaas Tahafuz will serve as a one-window and web-based precision safety net across the country.