The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) caretaker government, under the leadership of caretaker Chief Minister Muhammad Azam Khan, recently convened a significant cabinet meeting. During this gathering, attended by cabinet members, the chief secretary, additional chief secretary, and administrative secretaries, the pivotal topic of discussion was the Health Card scheme.

During a press conference, Advisor to the Chief Minister on Health, Riaz Anwar, said that due to escalating expenses, the full benefits of the Health Card scheme would now be exclusively available to beneficiaries of the Benazir Income Support Programme. The financial liability associated with the scheme had surged from Rs30 billion to Rs39 billion, leading to a proposal to potentially discontinue the programme.

The cabinet subsequently approved a set of reforms for the Health Card initiative. Under these reforms, individuals with an income of up to Rs37,000 will be required to cover 25 per cent of their medical expenses. This contribution will be calculated based on data from the Benazir Income Support Programme, ensuring that those with higher incomes contribute to their healthcare costs.


While the poor and underprivileged will continue to receive free healthcare services, access to free facilities at the emergency ward will be extended to everyone. Importantly, it was clarified that the Health Card programme itself would not be terminated; instead, it would persist in serving the underprivileged.

According to Samaa, this shift in focus is a response to budgetary constraints, as the expenses of KP’s Health Card programme rose from Rs30 billion to Rs39 billion.