UHC Benefit Package of Pakistan will become the cornerstone of health reforms across Pakistan. Let’s seize this opportunity together.

The development of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Benefit Package of Pakistan and its implementation will become the cornerstone of health reforms across Pakistan. This is a time for vigorous and positive action. Let’s seize this opportunity together.

The above remarks were made by the PM’s Special Assistant on Health Dr. Faisal Sultan while addressing a media briefing arranged by the World Health Organisation (WHO) here Thursday in connection with Universal Health Coverage Day.

“This work is just the beginning of the reforms process; we have to move forward towards the implementation of the UHC package in a more coordinated and effective manner while developing stronger partnerships. Significant progress has been made in starting implementation of the package across provinces and areas. The package will initially be implemented in two districts from each province and one from each region/area,” Dr. Faisal Sultan stated.

The SAPM thanked WHO representative Dr. Palitha Mahipala for hosting an event that helped reflect on the need for strong and resilient health systems to ensure UHC of essential health interventions. He also thanked Dr. Zafar Mirza, who is working as WHO Advisor on Universal Health Coverage.

“UHC is an investment in human capital and a foundational driver of inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development of the country. It is a way to support our people so they can reach their full potential and fulfil their aspirations. The critical challenge for us is to achieve UHC by ensuring provision of preventive, promotive and curative essential healthcare services to all. Although there are programmes offering free services at point of service delivery relevant to reproductive, maternal and child health, control of communicable and non-communicable diseases, the coverage of services is not satisfactory at all, especially through Community and Primary Health Care level platforms,” Dr. Faisal pointed out.

The SAPM conceded that the situation in Pakistan’s health sector is gloomy. “One of the main reasons for poor performance in the health sector was drastic reduction in allocation to the public health sector to an unacceptably low level of 0.23 percent of GDP in FY 2010-11. Since then, the share for government health expenditure as percentage of GDP has gradually increased to around 1 percent of GDP, but still significantly low against the target of 3% of GDP,” he stated.

Originally Published at The News