ISLAMABAD: Special desks have been established at National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) centres for the registration of transgender persons so that Sehat Insaf cards could be provided to them.

“Community members just have to declare themselves as transgender and in this regard a simple procedure will be adopted as only their personal confirmation is enough. There is no req­uire­ment of documentation from any other office in this regard,” said Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Zafar Mirza at a news conference on Tuesday.

“Each transgender person would be able to get medical treatment of Rs720,000 from as many as 300 private and public sector hospitals which have been put on a panel to provide health services to deserving people.”

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday announced that cards would be issued to transgender persons so that they could get medical facilities free of cost.

Dr Mirza said the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) had started giving health cards to all transgender persons who were registered by Nadra and had a CNIC.

He said the new registration system at Nadra would be linked with the office responsible for issuing health cards to provide them the facility without any hurdle and on an immediate basis.

“I suggest to all members of the community to start registering themselves as a transgender person with Nadra to avail services of the Sehat Sahulat Programme. Nadra has been asked to provide maximum assistance to transgender persons in their registration process,” he said.

“Now all transgender persons are eligible to avail health facilities under the health insurance scheme. Health cards would cover all medical services for them from normal disease to surgery,” he said.

Dr Mirza said the government would seek assistance from the leaders of the transgender community to guide others to get registered with Nadra.

“The government is fully committed to protecting their basic rights and issuing health cards to them is ample example of its priority of improving their health. This decision would further improve the soft image of the country in the world,” he said.

While sharing details of the programme, the SAPM said a total of 6.8 million families had been provided Sehat Insaf cards and the government was making efforts to target all 15m deserving persons by the end of 2020.

He said the Sehat Sahulat programme was launched in 84 districts where a total of 300 private and public sector hospitals had been put on a panel to provide health services under it.

He said that on the prime minister’s directives, all families were being given Sehat Insaf cards in Tharparkar and tribal districts while around 50pc of the country’s people living below the poverty line would benefit from the scheme.

Dr Mirza added that transgender persons were among the most vulnerable people in society and the incumbent government had taken up the responsibility of giving them a sense of ownership.

Published in Dawn, January 1st, 2020

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