PESHAWAR: The health department has decided to implement the Essential Package of Health Services (EPHS) in Charsadda and Kohat districts to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) target set out in the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
“The draft EPHS for UHC Universal Health Coverage has been finalised and will soon be placed before the steering committee headed by the health minister for approval to implement it in Charsadda and Kohat. It is a policy framework for service provision based on the scientific evidence of health interventions and will ensure that all people have access to essential health services particularly in the context of limited resources,” an official told Dawn.
According to officials, the health department in partnership with the Ministry of National Health Services and Regulations (NHSR) and development partners prioritised health interventions at community, primary healthcare, first level hospital, tertiary care and population levels for inclusion in the KP EPHS.
They said a total of 132 interventions (immediate level) at all five platforms had been included in the package with the annual unit cost of $29 per person.
Official says EPHS for Universal Health Coverage to be extended to other districts later
The National Health Accounts, 2017-18, showed that the provincial government was spending $17 per capita on healthcare.
The officials said the national health services ministry began work on the development of the Essential Package of Health Services for UHC at national level in July 2019.
They said the Essential Package of Health Services was endorsed by the Inter-Ministerial Health and Population Council on Oct 22, 2020.
The officials said the UHC reforms were meant to improve universal access to affordable, quality essential health services, delivered through a resilient and responsive health system leading to an increase in the UHC Index from a baseline of 40 per cent in 2015 to more than 65 per cent by 2030.
“Once approved, the EPHS will be implemented in two districts in the first phase and will be extended to six more districts in the next phase. The package’s implementation will be funded through the World Bank after approval by the National Health Support Programme. Under this programme, support will be provided to the health department through the recurrent budget and health system under the disbursement linked indicators (DLIs) mechanism,” an official said.
He said a three-stage approach had been used for the province to localise the package.
According to officials, Stage I includes governance arrangement for localisation and technical and steering committees with composition and terms of reference have been formed for it, while Stage II is about sensitisation and situation analysis regarding the availability of benefit package interventions for UHC. Stage III is meant for the actual provincial localisation exercise.
They said in 2015, ensuring UHC became the foundation for SDGs to alleviate poverty and inequality by 2030, while healthcare had a central place in SDG 3, which was about ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well being of the people at all ages.
The officials said the EPHS defined services for every level of health facilities, including community, basic health units, rural health centre and secondary level hospitals.
They said every province had developed own health services package in light of the respective disease burden to reduce its quantum through universal health services.
Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2021