Govt Trialing Ehsaas Catastrophic Health Expenditure Policy for Needy Patients

The second meeting of the Ehsaas Tahafuz Steering Committee that was chaired by the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM), Dr. Sania Nishtar, was held at the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) today.

The Secretary and Additional Secretary of the Division also attended the meeting.

Based on the recommendations of the ‘Poverty Expert Committee’ for Tahafuz, the members of the Steering Committee discussed and approved the beneficiary eligibility determination mechanism, the treatment packages to be covered, and the selection of the service provider hospitals in line with the programme assessment criteria for the expansion of its pilot phase.

The committee also deliberated on the ‘Ehsaas Catastrophic Health Expenditure Policy’ that is currently in the pipeline to dovetail Tahafuz with the federal government’s Sehat Sahulat Program. It also has the mandate to provide managerial and strategic oversight to the Tahafuz program.

Dr. Nishtar stated, “Extensive one-year-long work has been done on Ehsaas Tahafuz, Pakistan’s first shock-oriented precision safety net. The program aims at protecting the vulnerable populations from catastrophic health expenditures, and is being pilot tested in one hospital this quarter, following which it will be upscaled later this year”.

She added, “Once fully operationalized, Tahafuz will establish a one-window, paperless, and web-based precision safety net. It will also have the funders’ empowerment features in terms of micro-transaction alerts and personalized login credentials for detailed web-viewing right down to the micro-transaction level. It is hoped that such a system’s ability to determine eligibility and categorize beneficiaries based on preconfigured rules and adopting the national poverty database system will guard against abuse and pilferage. For efficiency and integrity of operations, the systems are being built”.

Dr. Nishtar also inaugurated the Ehsaas Tahafuz Project Management Unit to manage the execution of Ehsaas Tahafuz. The Ehsaas Tahafuz unit is housed at the PASSD as part of institutional arrangements for effective program management and implementation.

The team that is working on the pilot phase of the Tahafuz program briefed Dr. Nishtar about its progress. A 12-member team has been hired under the hiring procedures of the government to fulfill the technical demands of the program.

Dr. Nishtar remarked that “Ehsaas Tahafuz Project Management Unit is an important element in institutional arrangements and a crucial determinant of efficiency in program delivery. It includes transparent mechanisms put in place for the purpose of coordinating, planning, financial management, procurement, and the provision of technical and implementation support”.

Ehsaas Tahafuz will work with public hospitals to identify the patients with exorbitant health expenditures, who will then be assessed by the system. The eligible patients will be funded via the allocation of donations, and the program is being launched in phases.

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