0.77m women benefit from free health scheme.

PESHAWAR -- Women have availed themselves of free medical care under the government's Sehat Card Plus programme more than men since its launch in December 2015, according to a health department report.

The report revealed that a total of 1,452,250 patients had so far received cashless healthcare services under the PTI government's flagship initiative and 53.5 per cent of them (776,392) were women and the rest (675,853) men.

It said 155,251 patients received medical care under the SCP in Peshawar, which had the most hospitals empaneled for the programme, 134,309 in Swat, 128,720 in Mardan, 102,655 in Swabi, 97,199 in Lower Dir, 90,665 in Charsadda, 79,739 in Abbottabad, 68,793 in Mansehra, 65,199 in Nowshera, 53,943 Upper Dir, 52,499 in Buner, 52,192 in Malakand, 47,250 in Haripur, 38,358 in Karak and 38,313 in Shangla.

The report, however, said the number of the SCP beneficiaries in the newly-merged tribal districts was low as the government extended the programme's coverage to them in June this year after the suspension of their free treatment by the federal government.

Report of health dept says most beneficiaries from Peshawar, Swat, Mardan

It said the programme had so far cost Rs30 billion to the province.

According to the report, Rs11 billion has been spent on 88,435 heart patients, Rs4 billion on 220,467 patients needing general surgery, Rs4 billion on women with gynaecological issues, Rs2 billion on 'medical' cases, Rs1.9 billion on people with orthopedic problems, Rs1.6 billion each on urology and oncology patients and Rs1.4 billion each on neurosurgery, throat, dialysis and ophthalmology cases.

Meanwhile, SCP chief executive officer Dr Mohammad Riaz Tanoli told Dawn that the process to register more hospitals in tribal districts for the programme was under way.

He also said empanelment of more hospitals was required in districts with low number of patients registered for the SCP.

'We [government] want to rope in more hospitals at district level for the treatment of people in their native areas,' he said.

Dr Tanoli said there were no restrictions on people to receive treatment in districts other than their native ones, especially in Peshawar, whose hospitals offered services for complicated and chronic health issues.

He said the extension of the programme to the entire population of the province had increased patient inflows, so more hospitals were required to be empanelled.

'Empanelment is a...

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