The second meeting of the Ehsaas Tahafuz Steering Committee was chaired by SAPM Dr Sania Nishtar on Thursday at the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD). Secretary and Additional Secretary of the Division were also present. 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 deliberated on the ‘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. Chairing the meeting, Dr Nishtar stated, “Extensive one-year long work has been done on Ehsaas Tahafuz, Pakistan’s first shock-oriented precision safety net. The programme aims at protecting the vulnerable populations from catastrophic health expenditures and is being pilot tested in one hospital, this quarter, following which it will be upscaled later this year.” “Once fully operationalized, Tahafuz will establish a one window paperless and web-based precision safety net. It will also have funders’ empowerment features in terms of micro-transaction alerts, and personalized login credentials for detailed web-viewing right down to the micro-transaction level. It is hoped that such a system’s ability to determine eligibility and categorize beneficiaries, based on preconfigured rules, adopting the national poverty database system will guard against abuse and pilferage. For efficiency and integrity of operations, the systems are being built”, she further added. Later, Dr Sania inaugurated the “Ehsaas Tahafuz Project Management Unit” to manage the execution of Ehsaas Tahafuz. As part of institutional arrangements for effective programme management and implementation, the Ehsaas Tahafuz unit is housed at PASSD. 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 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. Ehsaas Tahafuz will work with public hospitals to identify patients facing catastrophic health expenditures, who will then be assessed by the system, and if eligible, will be provided funding by allocating donations to the patient. Tahafuz is being rolled out using a phased approach.