The ‘Ehsaas Tahafuz Facilitation Desk’ was officially opened by SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar Wednesday at the Holy Family Hospital Rawalpindi, the pilot site for Tahafuz. Dr. Sania was joined by Dr. Muhammad Umer VC of Rawalpindi Medical University, Dr. Shazia Zeb Medical Superintendent of hospital, Muhammad Ali Shahzada, Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) and other senior officials from Ehsaas team.
“It is such a pleasure to open the first of its kind initiative in the country that aims to cover catastrophic health expenditures for deserving patients. Ehsaas Tahafuz will cover the cost of pre-approved treatment packages”, said Nishtar.
She further added, “Currently, Tahafuz is in the pilot phase and is being implemented collaboratively with the Holy Family Hospital in Rawalpindi to identify patients facing catastrophic health expenditures, who are not covered by Sehat Sahulat Card or are in hospital not enrolled in Sehat Sahulat programme; they are assessed by the system, and if eligible, will be provided funding by allocating donations to the patient. To assist with this, a facilitation desk has been opened at the hospital to identify the eligible beneficiaries for Tahafuz pilot.”
Managed by Project Management Unit (PMU) at the PASSD, ‘Tahafuz Facilitation Desk’has deployed verifiers at the Holy Family Hospital that is the service provider for Tahafuz pilot to target deserving patients. In the current pilot phase, the programme covers financial assistance for catastrophic health costs related to gastroenterology, orthopedics, and gynecology. The eligibility will be determined by using income, poverty profiling and determining how catastrophic expense is relative to income.
Ehsaas Tahafuz is government of Pakistan’s flagship initiative being piloted to provide one-time catastrophic health to vulnerable populations. Protecting vulnerable populations against catastrophic health expenditure is the main objective behind Tahafuz as catastrophic healthcare costs usually push people into extreme poverty. Currently, the programme is patient centric and caters to one-time high health costs for those who lack ability to bear the heavy expenditures. Enhancements are being planned to expand its scale and scope later this year.
The programme will be funded by the government of Pakistan and independent donors. To manage paperless and seamless operations, a dedicated software will be used for service requesting, service provisioning, funds allocation, and monitoring and evaluation. Special features are also being built into the software to empower donors in terms of transparency, fund utilization and traceability.