Health (WHO hails NHIS)

Islamabad: World Health Organization has hailed and pledged its support to the country’s first-ever National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), recently announced by the Prime Minister Mr. Mohammad Nawaz Sharif.

In an official communiqué, classified as ‘Urgent’, addressed to the Chairperson, Prime Minister’s Youth Programme and originator of the NHIS, Mohtarma Maryam Nawaz Sharif, the WHO’s Country Representative to Pakistan, Dr.Nima Saeed Abid offered the commitment and assurance for providing technical support to the unprecedented NHIS in Pakistan.

WHO will send a high-level technical mission to Pakistan in the last week of June to study the country’s health insurance initiative in detail and provide necessary methodological and technical support to the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination for the smooth rolling out of the scheme across the country including FATA, AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan.

Under the NHIS, the federal government would append the health insurance premium for the tertiary-level health cover in addition to the secondary insurance cover provided by the provinces.

Cashless and superior tertiary health insurance cover would be provided by the federal government to the poorest of the poor across the country which would eventually cover more than 100 million people for intricate surgeries and the cure of life threatening diseases at the district level public and private empanelled hospitals in a phased manner.

WHO, while appreciating the approval of the NHIS by the Prime Minister Mr. Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, has said that Pakistan has fulfilled its commitment by undertaking concrete actions to realize Universal Health Care including the introduction and expansion of equitable and efficient prepayment arrangements to all population groups through the NHIS. The commitment was made by Pakistan at the 60th WHO Eastern Mediterranean Regional Committee’s meeting in October 2013.

The WHO further cites that the “The Prime Minister while approving the NHIS had declared that a health insurance scheme is the only way forward to provide health care protection to the economically deprived people of the society”.

“The programme will not only give the poor and vulnerable access to needed health care services without suffering financial hardship but it will also help develop and revolutionize the health infrastructure across Pakistan” states the WHO.

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