President directs State Life to provide life, health insurance to poor

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday directed State Life Insurance Corporation to develop on priority a comprehensive strategy for health and life insurance of citizens in association with private sector so as to provide cover to the poor strata of society.He said the government has to look after the health requirements of the poor and destitute of the country on priority as they are the most vulnerable.He said this while chairing a presentation on health and life insurance given by the State Life Insurance Corporation at Aiwan-e-Sadr.Spokesperson to the President Farhatullah Babar said that Chairman State Life Insurance Corporation Shahid Aziz Siddique gave a detailed briefing on the health insurance to the poor segment of the society, which was attended among others by M. Salman Faruqui, Secretary General, Farzana Raja Chairperson BISP, Senator Syeda Sughra Imam, Malik Asif Hayat, Secretary to President, Nargis Sethi, Secretary Health, Spokesperson to the President Farhatullah Babar and senior officials of State Life Insurance, BISP and other relevant departments.

The President advised that possibility of involving World Health Organization (WHO) in the proposed health insurance scheme be also examined. He directed that as a first step the health insurance of BISP beneficiaries be completed in at least four districts – one in each province of the country within the next four weeks.The meeting was informed that life insurance have already been provided to one million families registered with BISP. Similarly State Life Insurance registers about tens of thousands of BISP families for life insurance.The President said the present government accords priority to the development of health sector and provision of health facilities to all especially the needy, vulnerable and deserving of the country.He said that successful implementation of BISP has led to increased recognition of the state’s responsibility to protect the poor from further impoverishment through direct targeted intervention.The President said that as necessary data of the poor has already been computed by NADRA for Benazir Income Support Program so there should be no delay in providing health insurance cover to the BISP beneficiaries.He asked for considering health cover particularly to those citizens who cannot afford the high prices of medicines and medical care in Pakistan.The President called upon BISP to continue serving as a platform for complementary social assistance program and further streamline the Waseela-e-Sehet program for the vulnerable poor to cope with potential health risks. – APP