ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet has approved the Ehsaas Catastrophic Health Expenditure and Ehsaas Tahafuz Policy aimed at ensuring universal health coverage for citizens, especially in times of natural calamities.

Through this policy, a fund-based health financing system has been put in place which will complement the insurance-based Sehat Sahulat programme to protect people from catastrophic health expenditure.

Ehsaas Tahafuz is primarily premised on coverage principles to complement the government’s existing, Sehat Sahulat programme, and plug in any gaps.

“Given the current landscape and the importance of protecting the vulnerable, there was a need for a programme to act as a complementary initiative to the health insurance programme, which addresses the gaps to ensure no one falls into poverty due to healthcare expenses,” Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar said on Thursday.

Presiding over the review meeting of Ehsaas Tahafuz at the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, Dr Nishtar said Ehsaas Tahafuz had been introduced to provide coverage specifically against catastrophic health expenditures to vulnerable communities.

The programme works in partnership with public hospitals that identify patients requiring financial support. Patients identified are then assessed by Tahafuz against an eligibility criterion. For eligible patients, hospitals are directly reimbursed for pre-defined treatment costs.

Ehsaas Tahafuz system is paperless, mobile-phone centered and technology-based. Its automated workflows, supply-chain management, tracking and time-shaping and pre-configured rules for eligibility ascertainment help to overcome abuse and mistargeting of social protection funds.

Published in Dawn, April 1st, 2022

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