Thursday, October 6, 2011

[EQ] Heartfile Health Financing: Striving to achieve health equity in Pakistan

Heartfile Health Financing: Striving to achieve health equity in Pakistan

Sania Nishtar, Faraz Khalid, Anis Kazi, Naheed Batool, Andleeb Ikram, Ihtiram ul Haque Khattak, Qazi Asmat Isa, Hamid Jaffar

Background paper: WHO - World Conference on Social Determinants of Health, 19-21 October 2011, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Available online PDF [18p.] at:

“……More than 73% of Pakistan’s population pays out-of-pocket to access healthcare. Catastrophic expenditures on health, medical indebtedness and medical impoverishment are therefore, a common occurrence. More than 40 million individuals run the risk of spending catastrophically on healthcare. A number of factors compel action as social divides widen in Pakistan.
Social protection is a government priority but existing mechanisms have limitations. The state’s health related social protection system in place centers on Zakat and Bait-ul-Mal. These have narrow coverage and are plagued by a number of challenges. An NGO think-tank has created a mechanism to fill this gap through its recently established program, Heartfile Health Financing.

This is a health-equity fund based demand side system, which enables registered doctors/hospitals to seek financial help for patients who run the risk of spending catastrophically on healthcare in an expedient and transparent manner.

The system comprises three components—a technology platform, a system of validating poverty and prioritizing patients, and a health equity fund.

The objective at inception was two fold: one, to develop a system, which at the humanitarian level could protect people against medical impoverishment and meet an urgent need amongst the poor. Secondly, at the development level, to develop a health relevant social protection system which suited the specific needs of Pakistan and could help broaden the base of pooling for health.. …..”


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