PESHAWAR: The health department has released Rs2 billion funds to the Sehat Sahulat Programme to begin free liver transplants in the province and increase the entitlement of the people of tribal districts to treatment from Rs720,000 per family to Rs1 million in the financial year 2021-22.
The officials told Dawn that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government, which had spent Rs9.392 billion on the free treatment of 478,973 residents since 2016, recently included liver transplants in the SSP to benefit the people with damaged liver.
They said at the start of the current financial year 2021-22, the government had allocated Rs21 billion to extend free services to 7.49 million families in the province.
The officials said the amount included Rs1 billion for an increase in the treatment package of the residents of tribal districts to Rs1 million per family like the other people of the province.
They said the programme had covered the treatment of major diseases since Jan.
Govt has allocated Rs21bn in current fiscal to extend free healthcare to 7.49m families
The officials said around 10 kidney transplants had so far been carried out at the cost of Rs1.4 million per patient.
They said a summary regarding the inclusion of liver transplant in the programme was being vetted by the law department and once the exercise was over, the summary would be placed before the cabinet for approval.
The officials said the chief minister had already issued directives for the purpose.
They said allocation of funds for liver transplants during the new fiscal year showed that the facility would become part of the SSP soon.
The officials said they expected that liver transplants would cost Rs3-5 million each.
They said the facility was available in private health facilities of Islamabad, Rawalpindi and other cities and not in Peshawar’s.
The officials said if liver transplants weren’t available to the people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, it’s not an issue at all as the SSP has empanelled around 500 hospitals in all provinces, where patients could be sent for the cashless surgical procedure.
They said the SSP was extended to the province’s entire population in Nov 2020 and there had been an increase in the number of admissions since then.
The officials said 253,701 patients received free treatment from Feb 1, 2016, to Oct 1, 2016, when the programme covered 51 per cent and 69 per cent population, respectively.
They said the programme had benefitted 225,272 patients from Nov 2020 when it was extended to the entire province until June 30, 2021.
The officials said the flagship programme of the PTI government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had been replicated in 36 districts of Punjab and parts of Sindh and Balochistan and was likely to include OPD patients for free medication.
They said the programme offered free diagnosis and treatment to the hospitalised patients only but talks were under way with the German government to pioneer the OPD project in four districts.
The officials said the German government had agreed to spend 9.4 million Euros over a period of two years to provide free treatment to the visitors to OPDs in Malakand, Mardan, Kohat and Chitral districts.
They said the government in collaboration with Germany had begun the programme in those districts in 2015 for hospitalised patients under which three per cent population was provided with free treatment.
The officials said the initiative proved very successful in the provision of free services to the patients, so the government began the SSP and began providing free health services to 51 per cent people in Aug 2016 and later extended them to 69 per cent population.
Published in Dawn, July 4th, 2021