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PM Imran Khan wants the poor to know that if they get sick, the govt will have their back

February 4, 2019
He launched the Sehat Card Scheme to provide affordable healthcare to the public

The government will be providing health cards to underprivileged people to ensure they have access to basic health facilities. Prime Minister Imran Khan launched the Sehat Card Scheme on Monday afternoon.

In the first phase of the project, people in Islamabad and then the former tribal areas will be provided the cards. They have gone through 15 years of difficulties, said the premier, adding that the least the government can do is provide health cards to them.

Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid will be awarding 10 million health cards in Punjab this month, he announced.

Angioplasties, brain surgery and cancer treatment will be free for people with the health cards. The programme aims to provide affordable healthcare to 150 million families. People will be able to avail treatment worth Rs720,000 at 150 private and government hospitals across the country.

We started this project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa first and now 69% of low-income households in the province have health cards, said the premier. It has made a big difference, he said.

These cards are important because poor households do not have the means or disposable income to pay for medical treatment, he explained. When my mother was diagnosed with cancer I first realised what it’s like for the poor when it comes to medical treatment, PM Khan said.

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Cancer requires long-term care, he said, adding that at the time, there was no cancer hospital in Pakistan. I have seen people selling everything they have to pay for their loved one’s treatment because they don’t want to see them in pain, he said.

We need to protect the weakest segment of society by providing them affordable healthcare, he said. They should know that if someone gets sick, they won’t be helpless, and the government will be there for them, said PM Khan.

Situations where people have no access to affordable healthcare is terrible for society, he said.

“This is the first step,” said PM Khan, adding that all the policies being made by the PTI government are to reduce poverty. Our aims are wealth creation and poverty alleviation, he said.

The prime minister said the government is very aware that people are facing a lot of difficulties these days. The value of the rupee has fallen and things are expensive, said the premier. “We know this. This is a difficult time that we have to go through but we are trying to help the people, especially the poor, as much as we can,” said PM Khan.

He said the government will announce a poverty alleviation programme in the next few days, which will be the first coordinated programme that has all institutions, like the Zakat department, BISP and Baitul Maal, under one umbrella.

We will also provide loans for the poor so they can build their houses, he said.

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“No country can prosper until it spends money on its people’s health and education,” said the prime minister, who lamented that countries that were once behind us in terms of progress and prosperity, like India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, are now light years ahead.

In these difficult times, our government is trying to help people with the resources we have, he said. We are trying to raise the standards of our hospitals by beginning with cleanliness, said PM Khan.

Change is coming, he said, explaining that investors are slowly coming and that recently it was revealed that Pakistan’s tourism potential is $40 billion.

When this difficult time passes, we will be aiming to turn Pakistan into a welfare state where the state provides education, health, employment and justice, said the premier.

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