Universal health coverage package nearing finalisation
Islamabad : A five-day national discourse on the ‘Development and Implementation of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Benefit Package of Pakistan’ begins in the capital today (Monday). The conference is expected to deliver a roadmap for implementation of the UHC benefit package in 2020 with the assistance of provincial and area departments of health and releavant stakeholders.
Adviser to the Prime Minister on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza will chair the inaugural session, which will be attended by provincial and federating area health secretaries and Director General Health, representatives from the Disease Control Priorities 3 (DCP3) Secretariat, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Radboud University, World Health Organization, World Bank , UK’s Department for International Development, United Nations Children Fund, Aga Khan University , Health Services Academy and other stakeholders.
The DCP3 Secretariat, WHO and other partners are providing technical support for development of the UHC package, which is based on scientific evidence and an integrated approach, and will subsequently be adopted by provincial departments of health, considering their own specific needs and context.
According to Secretary Health Dr. Allah Bakhsh Malik, the Ministry of Health, in partnership with the provincial/area departments of health, health academic institutes, private sector, civil society organizations and development partners, has developed an Essential Package of Health Services/UHC Benefit Package and will have deliberations to finalize the document, while considering the evidence generated.
Pakistan is committed to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs) and UHC. The country is progressing on health outcomes but all too slow and progress is further marred by serious equity issues. Only 86 million Pakistani had access to essential health services in 2017—a major reason for poor health outcomes in Pakistan.
To address the challenge, the Ministry of National Health Services is expanding the ‘Sehat Inssaf’ Programme to all districts in Pakistan to not only protect 83 million poorest people from catastrophic health expenditure but also to ensure provision of essential package of health services to all through public and private health sectors.