LAHORE: Punjab’s new government has been in a mad dash to fulfill its vowed programs and projects. As expected, the incumbent government, under the new frontman, is taking up the task of executing its promises with full throttle. The launch of the Seat Card Scheme seems that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) plans of healthcare reforms are set in motion.
The distribution of the health cards under the scheme has commenced from Feb 22 in 36 different districts and is planned to be completed by the end of the year.
The Punjab government has started the distribution from the backward and more poverty-stricken areas of South Punjab province, including Rajanpur, Rahim Yar Khan and Muzaffargarh.
The government has set the aim of handing out at least 7.2 million cards in 2019, which will in turn benefit approximately 30 million people.
The previous governments failed to pay the premium on the cards and thus the scheme remained unutilised. The present project is a revamped version of the Benazir Income Support but with a bilateral aim of reducing the burden on government hospitals as the cardholder will be able to avail the medical facilities from a private-paneled hospital as well.
The healthcare system of the province is facing numerous problems due to the apathy of the previous governments towards the health sector. Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid says she is aiming for a promising future of the health facilities in Punjab where the working class and the ruling class end up as bed-neighbours in the ICU of a government-backed hospital.
Moreover, a major project in Rawalpindi is the recent highlight of the health sector. The construction of the Rawalpindi Institute of Urology is underway and the completion will be set as a benchmark for future holders of the office.
Dr Yasmin has reiterated that all liabilities of the hospital have been cleared and further funds have been cleared to avoid any miscarriages. The project is likely to cost around Rs 4030 million.
Furthermore, in an attempt to trigger down the protests of the Young Doctors Association (YDA), the health minister emphasised that the new government was providing Rs40,000 more to doctors as compared to other government officials.
She said doctors working in teaching hospitals would also be awarded perks and privileges besides handsome salaries.