Pakistan’s largest province Punjab launches Universal Healthcare for its 110 million population

Dr. Stephen Polley draws out a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine during distribution to healthcare workers on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020 at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center East in Columbus, Ohio. Vaccine shipments began arriving in Ohio on Monday and frontline health care workers have been the first to receive the vaccine. Covid 19 Vaccine Distribution
Joshua A. Bickel via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Prime Minister Imran Khan launched a program today which gives health insurance to all the residents of Punjab. By the end of March, Punjab will take care of all families.

Families will be able to use up to Rs1 million per year for medical treatments. Punjab is the second province and largest to offer all of its residents Universal Healthcare.

Prime Minister Khan held a ceremony and announced his intention of launching the welfare program on Twitter. Punjab Health Minister Dr. Yasmeen Rashid and Chief Minister Usman Buzdar also played vital roles in this project.

“This is a landmark, defining moment in the journey of Pakistan becoming a welfare state.”

Imran Khan

The province is investing in healthcare at all levels to ensure the 110 million population benefits. Khan expects to invest Rs440 billion in health insurance throughout the program’s first three years. Khan’s goal is for the private sector to invest in building hospitals throughout Punjab, especially in remote areas.

“There is a lack of doctors in these areas, but now the private sector will invest in constructing hospitals in the poorest of areas as everyone will be able to [pay for medical] treatment through health cards.”

Imran Khan

With the entire world struggling with COVID-19, Punjab residents now have less to worry about. The province has struggled with inflation, but Khan plans to launch a ration card.

“Those whose income is less than Rs50,000 [per month], they will be given the Ehsaas card, through which they will be able to get 30pc discount on wheat flour, ghee and lentils at kiryana stores until this spell of inflation ends.”

Imran Khan

Many of Khan’s recent decisions have been to help out the poor throughout the province, as he was once in their shoes. He thinks the elite should care more about the poor, especially during this pandemic.

“See how many people died in the neighboring country, India. See how many died in Iran. And how their economy suffered. And then look at Pakistan.”

Imran Khan

Khan and his government have put healthcare as their biggest concern, and they are doing what they can to improve it. The program will begin on the first of January.

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