On 13th of June 2023, the FAU team was honored to welcome Matthias Nachtnebel (KfW, Health Advisor Asia) in Erlangen. He was invited to give a guest lecture entitled “Social Health Protection Initiative Pakistan: To be or not to be” to students and faculty at the Institute of Economics.
During his lecture, Mr. Nachtnebel shed light on Pakistan’s classification as a low-middle-income country based on the recent socio-economic and health indicators, emphasizing the necessity of increasing social health protection in Pakistan – even today, more than 7 years after the start of the “Social Health Protection Initiative”. This initiative started in 2015 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province and the Gilgit Baltistan (GB) area and was financially supported by the KfW Development Bank. The primary objectives of the SHPI encompassed achieving national ownership, prioritizing the healthcare needs of impoverished individuals, and establishing a cashless system. Mr. Nachtnebel elaborated on the successful implementation of the SHPI and stressed that Pakistan has come a long way in introducing an inpatient health insurance scheme, financially protecting individuals from catastrophic health shocks. However, he also highlighted the imperative need for improvements in areas such as program awareness and utilization, as the utilization levels of the inpatient health insurance remained relatively low and the reason might be insufficient knowledge about the scheme and how to use it. Furthermore, he stressed that covering inpatient services does not suffice to effectively protect people and that there is a clear need for covering also outpatient services, which is the planned next step for extending the SHPI in a pilot project co-financed by KfW. Furthermore, Mr. Nachtnebel mentioned the importance of research to accompany the implementation of such new policy measures and briefly introduced the INSPIRE Pakistan research project, led by Professor Andreas Landmann from FAU as the Principal Investigator. https://blogs.fau.de/inspirepakistan/2023/06/19/prof-landmann-invited-to-stanford-to-talk-about-shpi/
After a very insightful presentation, the speaker engaged in a lively discussion with the students and faculty members. The audience posed a wide array of follow up questions in order to better understand the health insurance situation in Pakistan, the SHPI, and KfW’s work in Pakistan and beyond. Mr. Nachtnebel was happy to engage with the audience, discussing several issues in detail. For example, as the literacy rate in Pakistan is comparatively low, the audience was interested to learn about the measures that KfW and the local government take to inform the population about the new insurance scheme.
The exciting discussions continued over a joint dinner with the FAU team.