Balochistan unveils up to Rs1 million free healthcare for all

Balochistan free healthcare

QUETTA: The Balochistan provincial government on Friday launched a groundbreaking health card scheme worth Rs1 million, which will cover every resident of the province, regardless of their economic status.

According to officials, under the programme, around 2.2 million families in the province will be able to avail of up to Rs1 million of medical treatment annually in over 1,200 government and private hospitals across the country.

Balochistan Caretaker Chief Minister Mir Ali Mardan Dombki inaugurated the scheme at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat in Quetta on Friday.

Addressing the ceremony, Dombki emphasized the significance of the day, stating that the dream of providing standardized healthcare facilities to the people of Balochistan is becoming a reality.

He further explained that with the health card, every resident of Balochistan will be entitled to free treatment based solely on their identity card.

The Balochistan government had initially announced the programme back in 2019, but it took four years to operationalise it.

According to Balochistan Health Secretary Abdullah Khan, work on this initiative had been ongoing for several years, and it has now been made practical.

This unique programme will allow both the underprivileged and affluent segments of the province to access top-notch hospitals without any discrimination and without requiring any recommendations.

According to health officials, the health card covers a wide range of medical conditions, including cancer, kidney diseases, diabetes, heart ailments, transplants, breast cancer screening, neurosurgery, and various emergency treatments.

The health card scheme has been allocated Rs5.8 billion, and an agreement has been reached with the State Life Insurance Corporation for its implementation.

As per the health department, the scheme will not be applicable to OPD (outpatient department). Only individuals admitted to hospitals will be eligible to benefit from this programme, and they will receive a five-day supply of medications upon discharge.

Health Card Scheme head Asadullah Kakar said that this programme will require only one thing for enrollment, which is the presentation of an identity card. However, it is a prerequisite that the individual’s identity card must have a permanent address within Balochistan. This means that any patient holding a Balochistan identity card can qualify for the health card scheme.

He also mentioned that under this programme, patients can start their treatment process by showing their identity card on the health desk of the hospital’s OPD.

Citizens of Balochistan have been asked to verify their participation in the programme by sending their CNIC number to 8500. If any family member is not registered in the records, a birth certificate issued by the union council secretary can be provided to include them in the program.

Kakar encouraged the people of Balochistan to expedite the registration process for themselves and all their family members, including their marital status, births, and deaths, in the NADRA database.

Moreover, he announced the launch of a mobile application for the Balochistan health card scheme that will allow patients to check the nearest panel hospitals and their related details.

Additionally, a toll-free helpline has been established for inquiries and support.

Kakar expressed the hope that the programme would not only provide access to healthcare for the people of Balochistan but also help in gathering accurate health-related data, which can be beneficial for future planning.

He emphasized the inclusion of an effective monitoring system in the programme, where post-treatment, patients will be surveyed via mobile applications to gather feedback and address any issues promptly.

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