HSA students complete their short course on Health Financing with a timely debate on Universal Health Coverage

HSA programme Enlarge image (© GIZ)

A week after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif approved the National Health Insurance Scheme, the Health Sector Support Programme commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) took the discussion on how to design a scheme that aims to cover 100 million Pakistanis to the class room of the Health Services Academy (HSA) Islamabad. Certification ceremony at Health Services Academy Enlarge image (© GIZ)

Initially established as a department within the Ministry of Health, the HSA has transformed into an autonomous academic institution and gained a reputation as a centre of excellence for postgraduate and short courses in Public Health. The Health Financing postgraduate short course is one element of the German engagement in Pakistan through Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH’s long standing technical cooperation to strengthen teaching and research at the HSA.

The session on Universal Health Coverage, the last of the twelve lectures of the course, started with a screening of the film “Sick around the World” . The film features how Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, Taiwan and Switzerland deliver health care and discusses what could be learned from their successes and failures.

The students, who came from all across Pakistan, were then asked to imagine that they were a group of consultants and the next day would have to brief the Prime Minister on different health insurance models and options for implementation in Pakistan. Whilst each country has its own set of arrangements to provide quality healthcare, some general patterns are observed across health systems globally: the Bismarck Model, the Beveridge Model, the National Health Insurance Model and the Out-of-Pocket Model. The latter being the most unequal way of Health Care Financing is the predominant form in Pakistan where about 70% of health care expenditure is paid for by households out-of-pocket.

A transition to a universal health coverage may take several years, even decades. Among the critical factors that determine the speed of transition, the following points were identified in an analysis discussion by the participants: the ability of governments to mobilize tax revenues or insurance contributions, the important role of technology and public-private partnerships, the relative acceptance and value of the concept of solidarity in society, the effectiveness of governments stewardship and the populations trust in government and its institutions.

Prof. Assad Hafeez (Director of HSA) assisted by Dr. Shahzad Ali Khan (Course Coordinator), Mr. Shahid Adil (Vice Commissioner, Punjab Employees Social Security Insurance), Dr. Imran Durrani (GIZ) and Jasmin Dirinpur (GIZ) who both taught a module of the course, handed over the certificates for the course the next day. The participants were happy with their overall learning outcomes and expressed their commitment to take the UHC agenda forward.

HSA course Enlarge image (© GIZ)

More on Germany’s commitment to Universal Health Coverage globally:

Leading the way to Universal Health Coverage, a leadership programme jointly run by GIZ and the World Bank Institute: http://health.bmz.de/topics/Universal-Health-Coverage/Leading_the_way_to_Universal_Health_Coverage/index.html

Information Technology for Universal Health Coverage (IT4UHC) conference: http://health.bmz.de/events/past-events/IT4UHC/index.jsp

German International Cooperation Forum on Health and Social Protection,
Universal Health Coverage - From Promise to Practice: http://health.bmz.de/events/past-events/GIC-Forum-UHC/index.jsp

The Joint Learning Network on Universal Health Coverage: http://jointlearningnetwork.org/about

HSA Enlarge image (© GIZ)