Muzaffarabad—Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday said Health-care programme was part of the manifesto of Pakistan Muslim League-N and the launch of National Health Programme was aimed to fulfill that promise.
The programme, he said, was initially launched in Islamabad and now in Muzaffarabad and Kotli districts. It would be spread to the whole of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
Addressing the launching ceremony of National Health Scheme here, he said due to financial problems the people suffering from chronic diseases could not get treatment for years.
He said one could think of the pain of parents whose young children died for want of treatment which they could not afford because of financial constraints. The people had to sell property to pay the bills for treatment of their loved ones suffering from deadly diseases. Under this programme, such poor patients would be able to avail treatment facilities free of charge.
He said how people could avail medical facilities when they could not feed their children due to their meager sources.
Launch of such a programme, under which the people would get medical facilities in a dignified way was an honour for the government, he added.
He recalled that the deserving patients were getting free treatment facilities at Attefaq Hospital and Sharif Medical City.
He said the government had launched educational reforms in the country as it wanted elimination of poverty, ignorance and unemployment from the country.
On the health issue, he said the PML-N and the Pakistan People’s Party were on the same page as both wanted provision of health facilities to the poor and impoverished people.
The Prime Minsiter Muhammad said he regarded serving the masses a sacred duty and the objective of his government was only to ensure welfare of the people. The Prime Minister said the programme initially has been implemented in 23 districts of Pakistan and said it would be extended to other areas in phases. “We believe politics is meant only to serve the masses, and we are doing it as a sacred duty,” the prime minister said.
He said a lot of work has been put in before the health insurance scheme saw the light of the day and was launched initially in Islamabad on Dec 31 last year. He said so far one patient has undergone a heart bypass operation and said it was a major step forward towards providing free healthcare services. He said the scheme also covers liver transplant, diabetes treatment and other ailments.
The Prime Minister lauded all those involved in the scheme and said serving the poor was a great service to the nation. He said this scheme has been launched in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and those people who could not afford costly medical treatment can get it now free of cost from the government.
He said that Muzaffarabad was the second district where the programme was launched to provide in-hospital services to around 82,000 poor beneficiaries.
He said the health insurance scheme was tailor-made for the downtrodden as he realises that a person in a family can need upto Rs 0.3 mln for heart treatment, and if he does not have enough resources, he will end up getting more poor as the burden of loans pile up.
“It is our endeavour to ensure that the people do not have to sell their house hold goods and even property to get medical treatment.” He said there was a need to invest more into this vital area so as to lessen the sufferings of the people.