Contract with new firm for Sehat Sahulat Programme scrapped

Published February 6, 2019
KP health department started second phase of SSP in August 2016 and provided free treatment to about 160,000 people at a cost of Rs5 billion. — File photo
KP health department started second phase of SSP in August 2016 and provided free treatment to about 160,000 people at a cost of Rs5 billion. — File photo

PESHAWAR: The health department has scrapped agreement with United Insurance Company, which has been selected for implementation of Sehat Sahulat Programme (SSP) for the next three years, according to sources.

They said that the authorities allowed State Life Insurance Corporation (SLIC) to continue implementing the pragramme till June of the current year.

The health department, which started second phase of SSP in August 2016 and provided free treatment to about 160,000 people at a cost of Rs5 billion, floated tenders in November last year to select a new insurance company after the expiry of the contract with SLIC.

The health department had few issues with SLIC regarding enforcement of the programme.

Initially the programme covered 51 per cent population that was later increased to 69 per cent. The health department wanted to further streamline the programme, which was copied by the federal government due to its success in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

State Life Insurance Corporation allowed to run the programme till June

Sources said that architects of the programme had many issues with SLIC, particularly the slow-paced enrollment of deserving families.

However, the new company, which was selected out of five firms, lacked experience to run the programme, they said. They added that contract with the new firm was scrapped and tenders would be floated again shortly after getting go-ahead from KP Public Procurement Regulatory Authority to know if re-tendering was legal.

Sources said that health department was paying a premium of Rs1,499 per household on yearly basis to SLIC but wanted to raise the amount as it was less than the market trends. The rate of premium of the new firm was Rs1,665 per household that was low too and it was also feared that the company, a private entity, and could leave the programme halfway as its financial position was not stable enough like that of SLIC, they added.

They said that mostly likely the contract would be ended and a new firm would be selected to run the programme on scientific basis for the next three years. During the last two years, SSP used data of a survey conducted by Benazir Income Support Programme in 2012 that was not accurate due to which more than 500,000 families couldn’t be traced, they added.

The SSP had been asking the federal government to link the programme with Nadra so that people could be traced in a timely manner as then Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was ruled by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and its rival Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz governed the centre.

Now PTI has formed government in the centre as well in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, therefore, the latter is able to link the programme with Nadra and avoid issues in providing treatment to the deserving population.

In next phase of SSP, plans are afoot to include more treatments for the targeted population and increase the rate of heart surgery from the present Rs300,000 to Rs400,000. Additionally, eight major ailments would be included in SSP.

During the last two year, more than 4,500 patients have undergone cardiac surgeries under the programme.

The controllers of the SSP want to take more measures for realisation of its objectives including increasing access of targeted population to quality health services, reduction of out of pocket payments and improving the health status of the population, especially the poor.

Published in Dawn, February 6th, 2019

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