KARACHI (APP) - Sindh Government is inviting offers from Insurance Companies on January 1, 2009 for Health Insurance Scheme for poor people and after selection of one, the scheme will be launched from January 15. This was stated by Sindh Health Minister Dr Saghir Ahmed, while chairing a meeting regarding health insurance scheme here Friday. The scheme being launched for the poor is the only scheme of its kind that will kick off from Sindh Province, the Minister pointed out. Under the scheme, he explained, deserving families would be issued cards and it will continue for 3 years involving an expenditure of Rs 800 million and its further extension would be considered after completion of 3 years. He said that for this year a budget allocation of Rs 183 million has been made for the scheme and 0.3 million families would be provided health cover in the first year. Dr Saghir said that a card holder could get treatment for upto Rs 25,000 a month from hospitals as approved by the health department. He pointed out that health insurance facility is available to people in developed countries of the world but only to those who pay tax i.e. for rich class. He said the scheme, basic idea of which was propounded by Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah in his first policy speech, is unique in so much so it is for most poor people who will have this facility free. Under the scheme, Dr Saghir said, the head of families could get their children - dependent sons upto 188 years of age and unmarried daughters - medically treated from government and non-government hospitals of their respective districts. In case if need arise for treatment of a patient from a major city hospital, his transporation charges too would be paid by the government (insurance company). The Minister said that although medical facilities are available free of cost in government hospitals, however some time the facility for a particular test or medicine is not available. As a result poor people who would like to go private hospital, cannot avail the facility because of lacking capacity. Therefore, he said, the government has made an effort to enable the poors whose treatment is not possible in government hospital, could get treatment in private hospital under the scheme.