Ensuring access to primary and secondary health facilities for the country’s overall population and providing an effective system of medical care is one of the foremost responsibilities of the government and the state. Compared to other countries in the region, Pakistan is the country with the least amount of money spent on the health sector. Apart from Sindh province, a treatment facility in other provinces is expensive. Karachi alone is a hub of medical facilities. Even though the PTI government started the health card from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 2016, thousands of patients still went to government hospitals in Sindh and received free treatment worth millions of rupees from Sindh government hospitals. In Sindh, these facilities are free not only for residents of Sindh but for every Pakistani that wishes to avail of these facilities. Once, while Imran Khan was in power, he said that if doctors were not going to the district headquarters hospitals to serve the public, why should the government spend money? Instead, we will provide facilities to private hospitals and give them an opportunity to invest in the health sector, he said. So, sir, isn’t this statement tantamount to abdicating the duty of the government? In the last year alone, around 200 patients from Punjab have undergone free liver transplants worth Rs 5.4 million in Sindh. While Imran stayed in power, he kept talking about sehat card. One thing was very clear from the PTI’s official health policy that they wanted the health sector to be completely shifted to the private sector. This means that the government will keep paying for sehat cards but private entities and government sector hospitals will cease to exist. On the other hand, we have the PPP-led Sindh government’s model. Gambat is a remote area in Sindh and the Sindh government has set an example by building a luxurious hospital there. It has demonstrated that if there is a will, government hospitals can become better treatment facilities than private hospitals. Thousands of patients are getting free medical treatment in this state-of-the-art facility. You don’t need any sehat card here. Just go and have your treatment without paying anything. And one thing that the former prime minister does not understand is that if government doctors are absent from duty in government health centres, it is the failure of the government and it should be corrected rather than closing these facilities and handing them over to the private sector. The health card will have benefits, but for the poor, there are more disadvantages than benefits of this card, because the entire budget of health will be thrown on this card and if there is an emergency situation in any district, God forbid, the private sector doctor will have the monopoly. But in the presence of government health facilities, there is round-the-clock availability of doctors and paramedics. In case of emergency, the leaves of staff and doctors in government hospitals are cancelled, but when the government hospitals will go missing, the whole country will be at the mercy of private hospitals in accidents and natural disasters. They will charge the patient as much as possible. This would turn private hospitals into a mafia where they may charge patients however they want. Another downside of the health card was that despite having the card, the patient had to pay all medical test charges except the consultancy fee before the doctor decided whether he needed to be admitted to the hospital. In case treatment charges went above one million, the patient would have to pay from pocket. In contrast in Sindh, even if your medical treatment crosses 10 million, you don’t have to pay from your pocket, and no one will ask you to pay for laboratory charges. Whether it is a liver transplant or cancer treatment, everything is free. In the last year alone, around 200 patients from Punjab have undergone free liver transplants worth Rs 5.4 million in Sindh. Name a single hospital that can be compared with NICVD Karachi or Gambat hospital. Anyone willing to learn anything new, especially in the government machinery, should see how government hospitals are run in Sindh, where the government seems to be standing behind private institutions, like Indus Hospital, and gives a huge amount of money to welfare and charitable institutions from Sindh’s budget so that the people can get free treatment at their doorstep. The Sindh government has been paying millions to many other charitable institutions, which have been giving free-of-cost treatment to patients. This is how you help grow your health system. This is the vision of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, which has been implemented by the government of Sindh under the leadership of Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. The writer tweets at @ShahzadmemonPPP.