ISLAMABAD: The federal government has initiated a pilot project to provide free services to holders of health cards at outpatients departments (OPDs).

In the first phase, free OPD facility will be provided to 1,000 families of four union councils of Islamabad and later it will be replicated across the city and then in provinces.

The announcement was made by the Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Faisal Sultan during a ceremony to provide free OPD facility at a private hospital of Islamabad.

Earlier, the hospital would charge at OPD and as soon as a patient is hospitalised he would get up to Rs1 million for secondary care treatment for all kinds of diseases, including maternity, cancer, accident, burn injuries, diabetic complications, heart bypass and infections.

The programme also provides Rs1,000 transportation cost to its beneficiaries at the time of their discharge from hospital. There is also provision of burial support as Rs10,000 per death (if occurs in hospital). There is facility of inter-provincial/inter-district portability for availing free of cost services from any empanelled hospital in Pakistan.

Persons with disabilities and their registered families as well as transgender persons are also provided with similar benefits without any poverty scoring.

This is the first-ever initiative aimed at well-being of the population with physical challenges and disabilities as well as for the transgender community by the government.

The facility of free OPD has been provided for the population of UC-18 Khanna Dak, UC-19 Tarlai, UC-20 Alipur/Kirpa and UC-22 Chak Shahzad. Over 1,000 families will be able to get free of cost OPD facility from Bagum Jan Hospital which is located near UCs.

Dr Sultan said the health was in the priorities of the government and that is why people were getting free treatment in around 500 empanelled hospitals across the country.

“Currently 18 million families have been getting free treatment across the country and by March 2021 all the residents of Punjab will get the free treatment facility through health cards,” he said.

Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2021

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