Govt to start social health protection plan

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Jan 15, 2015-

The government has decided to provide 10 health care services under its “Social Health Protection Programme” that will soon be piloted in three districts.

Earlier, the government had proposed the services under “Health Insurance Programme” which was objected to by Ministry of Law over the use of word “insurance”. The Law Ministry had suggested that the model to be run by Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) was not in line with the Insurance Act 1992.

Under the programme, the government will provide, preventive and curative services, treatment and testing facilities, safe motherhood programme, treatment services or equipment, medicines, vaccination and other programmes, hospital beds and food facilities, new born treatment, ambulance services, physical and mental rehabilitation services and other health services that are deemed important by the “Social Health Protection Committee.”

The Cabinet in December last year had consented to form the seven-member Social Health Protection Committee comprising secretary of Health and Population Ministry as the chairperson and Finance Ministry joint-secretary and independent experts as members. This committee will also have an executive director who will look into the day-to-day activities.

Kedar Bahadur Adhikari, joint-secretary at the MoHP, said since some of the services are being already provided for free by the government, they will soon align these services with the social protection programme.

The government has been providing around 70 drugs and maternity care and other services for free through various health facilities across the country.

With the Cabinet giving a nod to form the committee that would oversee the programme, Adhikari said once it is published in Nepal Gazette, the panel will hold meetings to discuss ways to take the programme forward. He said crucial factors, including the benefit packages to be provided and insurance amount to be paid, are yet to be clarified.

Dr Devi Prasai, a health economist, said the basic health services are already free in line with constitutional mandate. “Now the rest of the services should be included in the social protection programme. Here premiums of poor and marginalised are paid by the government while people with an ability to pay have to pay on their own,” he said.

He said since the state is not in position to replicate insurance models of any country worldwide, this programme will help minimise the burden incurred to families while seeking health services.

Published: 16-01-2015 09:38

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