PESHAWAR, June 17: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health department is bracing for innovative approaches to improve patients’ care besides offering insurance to 20 per cent of the people of the selected districts. On the top of the agenda is immunisation.

Budget for health was jacked from Rs9.19 billion in 2012-13 to Rs9.6 billion in 2013-14 to provide better facilities to the patients and improve medical education, Provincial Finance Minister Sirajul Haq said.

The lion’s share of the budget will go to the government’s plan of setting up ‘integrated vertical programme’ for consolidation of health institutions with an allocation of Rs7.99 billion to strengthen coordination among the different sections of the health department.

To cope with poor vaccination problem, the Pakistan Tehreek Insaf-led provincial government announced financial incentives for the mothers and children for completing immunisation course in 10 deserving districts. For this purpose, an amount of Rs200 million was set aside by the government in current fiscal year that would be given to poor women to come for immunisation to the state-run health facilities in the respective districts, names of which weren’t disclosed by the minister.

The parents would be awarded Rs1,000 per child under the programme to cut down infant and child mortality rate in the designated places, the minister said.

Another significant feature of the provincial budget is introduction of ‘health insurance scheme’ for 20 per cent poor people against fatal diseases. Under the scheme Rs500 million will be spent on treatment of poor patients of the backwards districts.

The budget document entitled “revolutionising the health sector”, seeks to take measures towards achieving the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 by bringing about reforms to improve standard of patients’ care besides taking steps to promote medical education.

A totally new initiative ‘insulin for life’ with an outlay of Rs25 million will be spent to give free injections to the patients suffering from diabetes.

The endocrinology department at Hayatabad Medical Complex will supervise the programme to be started at the district headquarters hospitals targeting an estimated 15,000 patients in the province.

Diabetes had become a big problem for the local population as it caused be host of other deadly ailments, the minister said.

Also Rs 300 million were allocated in the budget for ‘special initiative on prenatal healthcare for poor women in 10 deserving districts’ to reduce maternal mortality ratio by putting in place facilities as well as creating awareness about disease.

The government has planned to spend Rs1 billion to upscale emergency wards in all district headquarters hospitals of the province to provide prompt treatment to the seriously-ill and injured people.

“Establishment of a comprehensive ‘referral system’ in the province has also been planned,” Mr Siraj said. The government would pump Rs675 million in the free treatment of cancer and hepatitis patients programme in the new financial year, he said.

“Another plan, costing Rs224.8 million, seeks expansion and improvement of reproductive health facilities in remote areas of the province,” the minister said.

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