LAYYAH: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said that provision of health cards to every citizen would ensure complete and free health coverage, which he said was unimaginable during past governments in the country.
Addressing a ceremony for the launch of Sehat Sahulat card for the people of Sahiwal and Dera Ghazi Khan divisions, the prime minister said that with the extension of health card facility to every family in Punjab, the poor would no longer have to worry about medical treatment.
Mr Khan was quoted by APP as saying that every family in the two divisions could now avail medical treatment worth Rs720,000 at all public and private hospitals in the province. He recalled that Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid had stated that an additional Rs300,000 could be given to deserving families if needed.
Mr Khan said the universal health coverage system will become a safety net and end health concerns of the poor. He also underlined the need to encourage the private sector to fully participate in health initiatives, and announced that government lands could be offered to the private sector at affordable rates to construct hospitals and other health facilities, especially in far-flung areas.
The PM further asked the Punjab chief minister to pay special attention to the backward areas of the province that lagged in terms of development. He noted that people migrated from rural to urban areas owing to a lack of job opportunities and basic facilities, multiplying population of cities, which led to a multitude of serious civic issues such as sewerage and scarcity of drinking water.
“Development must be all-inclusive so that no area is left behind,” he stressed.
Highlighting the motive behind the launch of health cards, Mr Khan said poor families did not have enough resources to meet their health requirements. Under the health insurance scheme, all such needs would be met.
In Pakistan, the PM said, child and pregnant mother mortality rates were very high, so it was a prerequisite to establish health facilities in all the backward areas. He also appreciated the solarisation of all basic health units (BHUs) in the under-developed areas of Punjab.
The premier also directed the inspector general of police to take strict action against the gangs of dacoits in these areas.
Earlier, the health minister said a vast network of health facilities would cater to the health requirements of the people of the province.
Chief Minister Usman Buzdar told the audience that the government’s universal health insurance programme would enable 4.8 million families, or 15 million people, to avail free medical treatment. He said every family would be entitled to free treatment up to Rs725,000 every year and in addition, five days’ medicine would also be given to patients, according to a handout.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan also laid the foundation stone of a mother-and-child hospital worth Rs5.73 billion here.
Mr Buzdar said under the Naya Punjab Basic Health Unit Solarisation Programme, 36 BHUs were being converted to solar energy in Layyah. Work on the city’s beautification, road infrastructure project and construction of 28-kilometre roads under the Naya Pakistan Manzilain Asaan Programme had been completed, he claimed.
The foundation stone of three projects worth Rs1.5bn had also been laid. Moreover, Rs670 million would be spent on the dualisation of Layyah-Chowk Azam road and Rs590m on 10 more development schemes here, he added. Currently, 910 development projects worth Rs21bn were under way here, the CM added and announced to elevate the Bahauddin Zakariya University Bahadar campus to a university. He also announced a boys degree college at Amiruddinwala and six girls colleges worth Rs750m.
Similarly, 367 schools in Layyah would be upgraded, five health projects completed and a trauma centre constructed at Chowk Azam THQ Hospital. A dental ward will be built at the DHQ hospital and a children’s ward at Karor Lal Esan THQ Hospital.
Other schemes announced included establishment of five Rescue 1122 centres with Rs90m, beautification of Layyah city, development of Insaf Sports Fields across the district and 12 200km roads with Rs2.72bn, including the 30km Layyah-Karor Lal Esan road. The Layyah jeep rally will be made a regular event to encourage local tourism, he added.
He said the 204km Layyah-Shorkot-Chichawatni road will be built with Annual Development Programme assistance and work on it will be started from the next financial year with Rs29bn.
Buzdar expressed satisfaction that the government had resumed work on the Greater Thal Canal project pending for 13 years. This will irrigate 1.7m acres in Khushab, Layyah, Bhakkar, Jhang and Muzaffargarh.
Meanwhile, land record centres were being set up at 23 qanoongoi in Layyah and 20 acres had been earmarked for the Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme here for which the balloting process had been completed, he further said, adding that a 100-megawatt solar power project will soon start working in Chobara.
Published in Dawn, May 27th, 2021