Adviser to Punjab Chief Minister Khawja Salman Rafique said that health insurance scheme was being introduced in Punjab while the pilot project would be launched in Rajanpur, Chakwal, Layyah and Hafizabad.

“A total of 650 senior registrars and doctors have been appointed to overcome the shortage of staff in hospitals. 1,000 medical officers have been recruited through Public Service Commission for providing basic health facility. Cholistan will be declared as hard area. Quackery will become a non-bailable offence soon. Necessary legislation will be made in the next session of the Punjab Assembly,” he said.

He added that an authority to control blood banks had been established. Internal audit system in the Health Department had been made functional to make the system transparent, he said. “Rs600 million is being spent on medicines by the government of Punjab. These medicines are being provided for general public free of cost while the posting of executive district officer health will be made on merit through principals and vice chancellors of universities. The secretary and the director general health will not be the members of this committee,” he said.

He claimed that the Cholistan situation was under control. Sufficient quantity of medicines had been provided at medical facilities while doctors had also been deployed there. “Seven mobile teams are working round the clock in the desert areas in the presence of experts. He also said that two mobiles o f Pak Army were also working in the area. Special training regarding community-based management of acute malnutrition has also been imparted to all medical and paramedical staff,” he said.

He said, “We are revising the policy of hard area and would declare Cholistan as hard area. Under the policy, the doctors working in Cholistan would get additional Rs20,000 per month.”

“Mother and Child Health Weak is underway in Cholistan from March 21 to 30 in which mothers and children are being given necessary medicines. Anti-polio campaign will also start from 26th to 28th,” he said. He noted that the government was providing health insurance first time in the history of Pakistan.

This policy will meet the expenditure of treatment of the poor up to Rs35,000 while all the premium of the insurance will be paid by the government of Punjab, he added.

He noted that pick and drop facility would be provided for Gynaecological patients and in emergency cases under the scheme. He added that World Bank and many other foreign companies have shown their interest in the scheme.