LAHORE: While allocating Rs96 billion total health (development) budget for the fiscal year 2021-22, the Punjab government has earmarked for the first time Rs80 billion under universal health insurance programme for the 110 million population of the province.
Under the programme, Punjab’s entire population will be provided free standard treatment at any designated private or public sector hospital in the province.
The government has set a deadline of Dec 31, 2021 to register the residents of all the 36 districts of the province to start provision of free healthcare facility through the health insurance (Sehat Insaf Card).
The Sehat Sahulat Programme, an initiative of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government, has been first launched in Sahiwal and Dera Ghazi Khan divisions of Punjab, as per the budget papers presented by the provincial finance minister Hashim Jawan Bakth in the Punjab Assembly here on Monday.
Rs80bn for health insurance programme, Rs10bn for Covid jabs
The minister said the government has allocated a total Rs370 billion for health, including Rs96 for the development sector, claiming it was 182 percent more than the last year’s allocation.
He said the health budget was increased to meet the challenge of Covid-19 which also shook the health sector.
The minister said the Punjab government has allocated Rs10 billion for the procurement of the coronavirus vaccine.
Similarly, it has earmarked a hefty amount of Rs35.2 billion for the procurement of medicines for the patients visiting the public sector hospitals in the province.
The government has proposed Rs3.5 billion to establish modern trauma centres in 14 districts.
For development sector of Primary & Secondary Healthcare Department Punjab, the government has allocated Rs19 billion. Of the total allocation, Rs6 billion have been proposed for the upgrade and revamping of 119 tehsil headquarters hospitals (THQs) of the province.
The government has allocated Rs16.6 billion for the construction of more district headquarters hospitals (DHQs) in Chiniot, Hafizabad and Chakwal, besides Rs11bn to eradicate TB, AIDs and hepatitis diseases under the Prevention Healthcare Programme.
It has earmarked Rs78bn development budget for the Specialized Healthcare & Medical Education Department of the province.
The documents says, the construction of a new 1000-bed general hospital on the Ferozepur Road and 200-bed paeds burns centre at the Children’s Hospital Lahore has been proposed.
The minister said the last big general hospital was constructed in 1984 in Lahore and the proposed 1000-bed new teaching institute would be the first mega health facility built by the PTI government.
Similarly, Rs24bn funds have been allocated for the construction of five new mother & child hospitals, each in Rajanpur, Layyah, Attok, Bahawalngar and Sialkot.
The government has also earmarked Rs1.7bn for the construction of a new surgical tower in Sialkot city.
The funds have also been allocated for the ongoing projects, including upgrade of DGQ hospitals of Gujranwala, DG Khan, Sahiwal, Institute of Urology and Transplantation Rawalpindi, Nishtar Hospital Multan-II, Mother and Child Hospital Sir Ganga Ram Hospital Lahore, radiology department at Services Hospital Lahore, Institute of Cardiology at DG Khan, Thallasemia Unit & Bone Marrow Transplant Centre at the Bahawalpr Victoria Hospital.
Published in Dawn, June 15th, 2021