“For the first time in the history of Pakistan, all duties levied on medical equipment imported into the country have been removed,” Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Saturday.
The premier distributed five million health insurance cards to the people of Punjab as part of the Ehsaas Programme in a ceremony in Lahore today.
In his speech at the ceremony, he said that with the health cards, people of the poor segments of the society will be able to get access to healthcare facilities. “When I became the prime minister, I promised you that I will make this country into a welfare state like Madina,” PM Khan said.
“The biggest principle of running such a state is humanity,” he emphasised. “It is taking responsibility of the weak segments of society.”
The prime minister said that the health cards will bring them one step closer to becoming a welfare state. This is also one of the reasons why PTI was elected by the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa not once but twice, he said.
“For the first time people had cards through which they could go to any hospital and get themselves treated,” the premier said.
PM Khan explained that this was the first step to revive the country’s health sector. The second step was the removal of import duties on all medical equipment. “This is because we want more and more hospitals to be opened by the private sector,” he said.
The third step is the revision of health reforms. “Public hospitals will not be able to function properly unless their management is improved,” PM Khan said.
He identified lack of accountability as the biggest problem at public hospitals. Rich people can easily get their treatments at private hospitals that are expensive. But the poor people are forced to go to public hospitals.
“When we talk about reforms, people say that we encouraging privatisation but it actually is autonomy, which will improve the structure of these hospitals,” the prime minister clarified.
He also said that the media deliberately creates propaganda against the government. “It even took Madina years of hardship to become the state it was,” PM Khan said.
It will take us time to convert the country into what we have envisioned it can be, he added.
At least 7.5 million health insurance cards are expected to be distributed across Punjab under the Ehsaas Programme this year.