Khalida Niaz

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: Rabia, a 37-year-old resident of the Nowshera district, is among the many individuals who have expressed distress over the news of the potential suspension of health card services. Her husband has been suffering from persistent stomach pain, and despite a previous surgery, Rabia worries that his condition might worsen, requiring hospitalization.

In an interview with TNN, Rabia shared her struggle to afford medical treatment amidst soaring inflation. The health card, she says, is their last hope, but the news of its possible discontinuation has left them anxious, as accessing healthcare without it seems nearly impossible.

Rabia is not alone in her concerns. Thousands of people are worried about the reported termination of health card benefits. However, Muhammad Riaz Tanuli, the Chief Executive Officer of Health Card Plus Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has dismissed these claims as baseless. He affirmed that the health card services will continue to be provided to the people.

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Explaining the reason behind the notices of treatment suspension appearing on health cards, Tanuli clarified that the costs of health card treatment are covered by State Life, and the government provides the necessary funds to State Life. In cases where the payment to State Life is delayed, notices are issued, and this news sometimes spreads through the media. However, he emphasized that these notices are only a procedural formality, and free treatment will continue as usual.

It is important to note that rumors about the suspension of health card treatment have been circulating in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for some time. While there was a temporary halt to health card services a few days ago, they were later restored.

According to Tanuli, over 2.2 million people have received treatment through the health card in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa so far, with 1.3 million benefiting in the current financial year. He highlighted the health card’s significance as a valuable initiative that provides free treatment to those who would otherwise struggle to afford medical care.

Farzana, a 33-year-old resident of Nowshera, praised the health card project, considering it a blessing for the underprivileged. She shared her personal experience, explaining how the health card covered the expenses of her recent childbirth, which would have cost them around 45,000 rupees if not for the facility.

Farzana further stressed the importance of the health card, not only for free treatment but also for the care provided to patients. She appealed to the government to ensure the continuity of this essential facility. Muhammad Riaz Tanuli affirmed that health card holders receive treatment regardless of whether it involves an operation or outpatient care.

Regarding future plans, Tanuli revealed that a pilot project is underway to expand health card coverage to include outpatient care in four districts, including Mardan and Kohat. The project will run for two years initially, and if successful, it will be extended to other districts in a phased manner.

To address concerns and complaints, Tanuli mentioned the presence of spokespersons at hospitals and the State Life facilitation desk where health card treatment is provided. People can lodge complaints promptly, and a toll-free number (080089898) is available 24/7 for inquiries and feedback. Complaint boxes are also installed in major hospitals, he added.

Tanuli reassured the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that despite the challenging circumstances, the caretaker government has decided to continue the health card project. He urged residents not to worry and affirmed that the scheme will persist, ensuring free healthcare facilities for the populace.

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