Khyber Pukhtunkhwa government is implementing a plan to bring expansion and improvement in health services delivery. The coverage of free medical treatment under the Insaf Health Card shall be extended to 100 percent population in phases. Measures have been taken to keep round the clock functional 50 Rural Health Centers and 200 Basic Health Units.
The Insaf Health Card system was introduced by the previous PTI provincial government with the financial assistance of State Life Insurance as an adhoc measure and even now no sustainable system of health insurance has been put in place like the countries of social democracies. It was a divine blessing that the health delivery system did not collapse in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. The novel experiments that are being done under MTI Act has not only resulted in reduction of beds in hospitals for indoor treatment but also the number of Pakistan College of Surgeon and Physician (PCSP) accredited specialist doctors of different specialties to supervise TMOs.
The arbitrary hire and fire policy, brain child of Dr. Nawsheran Burki, has forced a number of PCSP accredited senior specialist doctors to resign and opt for running full time clinics in private hospitals. As a result, poor people are paying the price who cannot afford both outdoor and indoor treatment in private hospitals.
The historic Lady Reading Hospital of British era had four surgical wards with 200 beds. These wards have now been clubbed in one building, reducing the number of beds to 88. It is a matter of historical record that none of the elected government has ever thought of building new hospitals to cater to the rapid population growth. It was the unelected governments that launched the projects of constructing new teaching level and district level hospitals.
There are no indications that the present government has any plan of building such hospitals. Previously, Insaf Health Card holders had to prefer treatment in private hospitals, who then complained that the full monetary capacity of their cards was unnecessarily exhausted in few visits to these hospitals. The extension of health card cover to 100 percent population will achieve the desired results of all time medical services provision only when the number of government hospitals is increased and new hospitals are properly equipped. Solarisation of Rural Health Centers and Basic Health Units is inevitable to keep them functional round the clock.