I am pleased to note that today Pakistan joins the international community in observing World Health Day.
Healthcare remains top most priority agenda in the social sector. The goals of development cannot be realized without taking steps towards building a healthy nation.
Our Government launched Prime Minister’s National Health Program (PMNHP) in 2015 with the objective to provide universal health coverage through a cashless health insurance scheme for the poor to enable them to access needed health-care services. By the Grace of Almighty, National Health Program has started its services for the beneficiaries of 16 districts, including Islamabad, Quetta, Loralai, Lasbela, Kech, Muzzaffarabad, Kotli, Skardu, Diamer, Rahim Yar Khan, Khanewal, Narowal, Sargodha, Khyber Agency, Bajour Agency and Thatta.
I am happy to note that so far more than 1.6 million families have been enrolled in the PMNHP and more than 18,000 individuals have been treated for various illnesses from empanelled hospitals.
This year the World Health Organization has dedicated World Health Day to “Depression”. This is a commendable step for bringing the world together against mental illnesses and in particular ‘Depression’.
It is a matter of concern that around 24 million people suffer from depression in Pakistan. A huge fraction of human resource that could be contributing to the development and progress of Pakistan is affected by disability caused by this disease.
Depression is curable and easily treatable. As a society, we must take steps to recognize, prevent and treat depression at the basic primary health care level. We need to educate ourselves and others so that people can be open about seeking help whenever required, and not be held back due to fear of being judged. I encourage everyone to create ease for each other.
I envision that we as a nation must stand and fight together to fight the stigma, prejudice and discrimination against people suffering from this menace, “Let them talk”.
On this day, I reiterate my Government’s resolve to further improve the healthcare system