Rs10.6bn spent on free treatment of patients in one year – Journal

PESHAWAR: Over 425,000 patients received free treatment in public and private sector hospitals under the Sehat Sahulat program in the past year.

Most of the beneficiaries received dialysis, cesarean and cardiology services.

“Since the extension of free diagnostic and treatment services to the entire population of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on November 1, 2020, a total of 426,939 patients have benefited from the provincial government’s social health initiative,” said the deputy director of the SSP, Dr Aamir Rafiq.

According to him, Rs 10.6 billion was spent by the government for the investigation, surgeries and other procedures of the patients. After the completion of one year since the coverage of the entire population by the SSP, the number of patients has almost doubled from the four years, he said.

OPD service to be launched in four districts as part of social health initiative

Dr Aamir said a total of 211,174 patients underwent treatment for the top 10 diseases under the program. They included 70,333 dialyses, 23,760 cesarean deliveries, 22,110 cardiology, 21,800 normal deliveries, 18,926 appendectomies, 16,980 cataracts, 13,437 tonsillectomies (bilateral), 10,699 oncology / chemotherapy and 7,168 cholecystectomies (open).

He said the number of patients was increasing with each passing day. Health Minister Taimur Jhagra was constantly monitoring the program and diseases were included in the program to allow more people to benefit from the cashless treatment initiative, he added.

“We have established a total of 524 hospitals for free treatment across the country, including 166 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Hospitals, both public and private, are selected through an appropriate mechanism, ”said Dr Aamir.

SSP was launched in collaboration with KfW, a German bank, in four districts in 2015, covering three percent of the province’s population. It was extended to 51% of the province’s population in 2016 and to 69% in 2017.

The device was extended to the whole province in November 2020.

Now, all 7.47 million families in the province have been enrolled and they are entitled to free treatment at one of the SSP registered hospitals.

The State Life Insurance Corporation of Pakistan implemented the free health program in incorporated hospitals. The company was selected for the application of the program through tenders for the entire province. It provides financial health care up to Rs1 million per year to a family. In case of expenditure of Rs1 million, the cards are recharged.

Health department officials said Rs.21 billion was allocated to the program during the current budget.

“We will soon include free liver transplant in the program for which three hospitals, two in Islamabad and one in Lahore, have been selected. The government wants to cover all diseases under the program. More than a dozen kidney transplants have also been performed. A single transplant costs Rs 1.4 million, ”they said.

Officials said that currently the program only extends free services to inpatients, but plans are underway to launch OPD services on a pilot basis in four districts in the near future.

“Germany has pledged a grant to sponsor the OPD project,” they said. They said that at present, the number of private hospitals established was greater than that of the public sector. The former treated most patients and generated more income through the program. However, the government has asked the public sector hospitals to improve their services to earn more amount from the SSP.

“The Peshawar Heart Institute (PIC) operated on 95% of the patients under the program. We want hospitals to follow the PIC, ”officials said. They added that the province’s model has been implemented in Punjab, Balochistan, parts of Sindh, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.

Posted in Dawn, le 2 November 2021

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