Jan 27, 2021, The ‘Ehsaas Tahafuz Facilitation Desk’ was officially opened by SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar at the Holy Family Hospital Rawalpindi, the pilot site for Tahafuz. Dr. Sania was joined by Dr. Muhammad Umer VC of Rawalpindi Medical University, Dr. Shazia Zeb Medical Superintendent of hospital, Muhammad Ali Shahzada, Secretary Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) and other senior officials from Ehsaas team. “It is such a pleasure to open the first of its kind initiative in the country that aims to cover catastrophic health expenditures for deserving patients. Tahafuz will cover the cost of pre-approved treatment packages”, said Dr. Sania. Currently, Tahafuz is in the pilot phase and is being implemented collaboratively with the Holy Family Hospital in Rawalpindi to identify patients facing catastrophic health expenditures, who are not covered by Sehat Sahulat Card or are in hospital not enrolled in Sehat Sahulat programme; they are assessed by the system, and if eligible, will be provided funding by allocating donations to the patient.
Jan 27, 2021 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar will be reaching out the wider national audience every Wednesday through Radio Pakistan’s live program, “Raabta”. The program aims to educate people about the objectives, approach and status of Ehsaas survey and Ehsaas Kafaalat. Dr. Sania will reply to questions of listeners who can connect with her on telephone by calling directly at 051-9206995 and 051-9215206. Talking to people in today’s program, Dr. Sania said, “Ehsaas is conducting a door-to-door survey all over the country so that data can be gathered about the socioeconomic status of households. Ehsaas survey is currently 65 percent complete in the country and is progressing smoothly to accomplish by June 2021. According to the Ehsaas policy, the results of survey will facilitate proper targeting of 7 million poor households for Ehsaas Kafaalat.” The program can be listened every week at 9 am. Listen here.
Jan 25, 2021- Mardan: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar made a visit to Women University Mardan to hold a policy dialogue with Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship awardees of 2019-20. She was warmly received by the Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Ghazala Yasmeen and faculty members. More than 100 young girls participated in the dialogue, which provided a space to exchange ideas on how young girls from rural areas can increasingly benefit from the Ehsaas’ merit and need based scholarship. Dr. Sania also answered a number of questions related to details of Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship program. Last year, 400 girls from Women University Mardan had applied, out which 124 were awarded the Ehsaas scholarship. Overall, 50,762 students have benefitted from the Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarships worth 4.9 million in 2019-20. In total, 200,000 scholarships would be awarded over the four years to deserving students in 125 public universities. It represents a paradigm shift in the government’s scholarship policy.
Jan 25, 2021 – Mardan: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar addressed a press conference with local media reporters, journalists and district administration to brief them about the ongoing Ehsaas poverty census in the area. “Ehsaas poverty survey currently stands 71% ready in Mardan, 45% in KP and 65 percent in the country and successfully continues to accomplish by June 2021. Once the Ehsaas survey gets finalized, the enrollment of new Ehsaas beneficiaries will be based on eligibility verification from the new database”, shared Dr. Nishtar. She also acknowledged the provincial government, district administration and police department for their support and cooperation. Accelerating the pace of Ehsaas poverty census, a new model has been deployed in KP to conduct the survey in partnership with provincial education department. Through an android based application, the survey teams are collecting the data of households at the doorstep. Later, Dr. Nishtar visited a survey site in Gujar Garhi area of Mardan to review the demo of the survey. She also interacted with the survey team and a native household being surveyed in the local setting. Full footage of the press conference can be watched here.
Jan 21, 2021 – Islamabad: The President Dr. Arif Alvi convened a meeting to expedite the process of registration of the differently-abled. He said that the existing procedure of certification and registration was quite slow and cumbersome which needed to be simplified for the facilitation of the differently-abled people. For Ehsaas, this is an important step in the process to grant Ehsaas Kafaalat stipends to the eligible differently-abled. The meeting was attended by the SAPM on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM on National Health Services, Regulations, and Coordination, Dr. Faisal Sultan, Chairman NADRA, Usman Yousaf Mobin, and senior officials of the Ministry of Health. Dr. Sania briefed the meeting that the survey on the disabled under the Ehsaas programme would be completed by the end of June 2021. The Chairman NADRA shared that over 339,000 differently-abled persons had been registered with NADRA.
Jan 21, 2021 – Islamabad: The second meeting of the Ehsaas Tahafuz Steering Committee was chaired by SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar at the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD). Based on the recommendations of ‘Poverty Expert Committee’ for Tahafuz, the members of the steering committee discussed and approved the beneficiary eligibility determination mechanism; treatment packages to be covered; and selection of service provider hospitals in line with programme assessment criteria for expanding Tahafuz pilot. The committee also directed to expedite the process for the development of ‘Ehsaas Catastrophic Health Expenditure Policy’ that is currently in the pipeline to dovetail Tahafuz with the Sehat Sahulat programme of the government. The Tahafuz Steering Committee has the mandate to provide managerial and strategic oversight to the Tahafuz programme.
Jan 21, 2021 – Islamabad: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar inaugurated the ‘Ehsaas Tahafuz Project Unit’ that has been established to manage the execution of Ehsaas Tahafuz. As part of institutional arrangements for effective programme management and implementation, the Ehsaas Tahafuz unit is housed in Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division. At the occasion, the team working on the Tahafuz pilot phase also briefed Dr. Nishtar on the progress of the programme. A 12-member team has been hired following hiring procedures of the government to fulfil the technical demands of the programme. “Ehsaas Tahafuz Project Management Unit is an important element in institutional arrangements and a crucial determinant of efficiency in Tahafuz programme delivery. It includes transparent mechanisms put in place for the purpose of coordinating, planning; financial management; procurement and provision of technical and implementation support”, said Dr. Nishtar.
January 20, 2021 – South Waziristan: Prime Minister Imran Khan during his visit to South Waziristan launched Ehsaas Kafaalat programme in the district and reviewed the status of first-ever digital survey in the district. The Ehsaas National Socioeconomic Registry (NSER) survey based on which the Ehsaas Kafaalat and many other stipends will be given to deserving people in the district has already commenced on January 9, 2021.“Ehsaas enumerators are going house-to-house with tablets to collect district-wide information”, said SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar while briefing PM on the status of Ehsaas survey. “This is the first time the population of South Waziristan will benefit from a transparent and rule based social protection program. Over 25 percent population of the district will benefit from Ehsaas in 2021.”, she further added. Later, PM also oversaw payment to select number of Ehsaas Kafaalat beneficiaries through Ehsaas’ digital payment system.
Jan 20, 2021 – Bangkok: SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to keynote the virtual launch of the Asia and the Pacific Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2020. The report is a joint effort of FAO, UNICEF, WFP and WHO. Other eminent speakers included Emorn Udomkesmalee, Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of International Health, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University and Chair of the IFPRI Board of Trustees; Minister of Agriculture, Solomon Islands; and John Aylieff, Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, WFP. Addressing the launch event, Dr. Sania said, “The response to the pandemic in Pakistan has been multi-sectoral. We must ensure a holistic approach to address nutrition and expand safe access to high-impact programmes.” After discussing the most recent data on SDG2 indicators, the report focuses on the special theme of maternal and child diets, and the importance of using a systems approach to improve those diets. Full report can be accessed here.
January 19, 2021 – Islamabad: The Cabinet Committee for the procurement of coronavirus vaccine gave briefing to the PM about measures being taken to ensure the supply of vaccine in current quarter of this year. Minister for Industries Muhammad Hammad Azhar, Minister for Planning Asad Umar, Special Assistant for Health Dr. Faisal Sultan and Special Assistant for Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar attended the meeting. The Prime Minister directed to speed up measures for the procurement and supply of the approved coronavirus vaccines.
Jan 18, 2021 – Islamabad: President Dr. Arif Alvi hosted a seminar at Aiwan-e-Sadr to promote exclusive breastfeeding, which is the most cost effective way to address malnutrition and is highly supportive for Ehsaas Nashonuma programme. “If a newborn baby is given breastmilk within the first hour of life, it increases his chances of survival and good health, acts as a natural vaccine against diseases, and is regarded as nearly perfect mix of nutrients by physicians. This is the best care that can be provided to our children during their initial days,” Dr. Alvi said. Aside from President Dr. Alvi and SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar, the event was attended by Dr. Faisal Sultan, UNCEF Country Director Aida Girma, National Programme Manager of the Nutrition Program Dr. Baseer Achakzai, as well as noted parliamentarians, representatives of UN organizations, civil society, media, and social activists. Speaking at the event, Dr. Sania highlighted how the Ehsaas programme, through its 48 Ehsaas Nashonuma Centres is contributing to fulfilment of the nutritional needs of children in Pakistan.
Jan 17, 2021 – Islamabad: In preparations for the upcoming Street Hawkers’ Initiative under Mazdoor ka Ehsaas, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar spent this weekend speaking to hawkers in Islamabad to gain policy insights. She took a round of the small roadside markets in Islamabad, met the hawkers and people present there, and enquired about their problems. “People’s voices are important for effective policy design and implementation”, she said. During interaction, Dr. Sania also apprised hawkers about the Ehsaas Interest Free Loan programme launched by the government for the graduation of poor.