RAWALPINDI: The ‘Ehsaas Tahafuz Facilitation Desk’ was opened at the Holy Family Hospital (HFH) on Wednesday.

Inaugurating the desk, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar said: “It is such a pleasure to open the first of its kind initiative in the country thataims to cover catastrophic health expenditures for deserving patients. Ehsaas Tahafuz will cover the cost of pre-approved treatment packages.”

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, and not covered by Sehat Sahulat Card or are in hospital not enrolled in Sehat Sahulat programme.”

She said they were assessed by the system, and if eligible, would be provided funding by allocating donations to the patient.

The facilitation desk has been opened at the hospital to identify the eligible beneficiaries for Tahafuz pilot, she added. Managed by Project Management Unit (PMU), the Tahafuz Facilitation Desk has deployed verifiers at the Holy Family Hospital to target deserving patients.

In the current pilot phase, the programme covers financial assistance for catastrophic health costs related to gastroenterology, orthopaedics, and gynaecology. The eligibility will be determined by using income, poverty profiling and determining how catastrophic expense is relative to income.

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 and independent donors. To manage paperless and seamless operations, 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 utilisation and traceability.

Published in Dawn, January 28th, 2021

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