December 21, 2023: Senator Sania Nishtar’s Emergency Treatment Bill was presented in the Senate Standing Committee on Health.
In her tweet, Senator Sania Nishtar thanked Members of the Senate Standing Committee on Health for their bipartisan support and for unanimously approving her Bill, which mandates free emergency medical treatment for all in public hospitals in the Islamabad capital territory. “Free emergency medical treatment is not only a moral imperative but also a matter of rights, with reference to the state-peoples’ relationship” she wrote. https://twitter.com/SaniaNishtar/status/1738218875857285258
Senator Sania’s Constitutional Amendment Bills
December 16: 2023: During the recent meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice there was support from all parties for two of Senator Sania’s constitutional amendment Bills, aimed at amending articles 140A and 84 of the Constitution. The former is aimed at providing a basic constitutional framework to achieve the objective of devolution from the provincial to local level, whereas the latter is meant to rectify the process of approving supplementary budget grants.
December 4, 2023: Senator Sania Nishtar virtually participated in the panel titled “Political & Economic Decisions Vs Costs of Health & Wellbeing” during the Advanced Tomorrow 2023 Singapore Summit, which focused on ‘Health and Wellbeing of Tomorrow’ – Revolutionising Healthcare, Wellness and Longevity in 21st Century. The discourse was around the main political and economic issues and barriers affecting healthcare outcomes globally and in countries of the South. The panel was moderated by Joan Hoey, Editorial Director, The Democracy Index at the Economist Intelligence Unit. Panel participants included Philippe Aghion, Professor of Economics at The London School of Economics and Political Science; Martin Guzman, Professor of Economics, and Former Minister of Economy of Argentina; Pranjal Sharma, author of The Next New: Navigating the Fifth Industrial Revolution; and Manuel Muniz, Provost of IE University in Madrid, Spain & Dean of the School of Global and Public Affairs.
Last Mile Forum, Health Day, COP 28
December 3, 2023: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar participated in the first ever health day observed during COP 28. She spoke on a panel titled “breaking silos on climate sensitive diseases” during Last Mile forum. She spoke about measures and mitigates that the health sector needs to put in place to address the climate challenge, stressing on the need for new institutional arrangements, preemptive planning, and climate resilient investments in PHC. In a tweet after the event, she stated “The impact of climate change on health and health systems is staggering and alarming, and we have seen this playing out in Pakistan during the 2022 floods. I made a threefold call to action: first, health must work more closely with disaster, humanitarian, and social protection institutional arrangements. Second, we must mandate learnings from disasters and institutionalize pre-emptive planning for resilience and third, disruptive solutions are possible at scale for which technologies must be mainstreamed iteratively in processes and systems”
Resolution in the Senate commemorating World Humanitarian Day
November 28, 2023: Senator Sania Nishtar presented a Resolution in the Senate commemorating World Humanitarian Day. The Resolution was passed unanimously.
Senator Sania’s speech in the senate on the wheat cycle
November 28, 2023: Senator Sania made a speech explaining how arbitrage is institutionalized in the wheat policy cycle; she outlined public policy measures to address wheat cycle challenges. The speech can be accessed here: Pakistan Wheat Crisis Senate Speech
Senator Sania’s Motion to amend Senate Rule 185 on Conflict of interest
November 28, 2023: Sania moved a motion in the Senate to amend Senate Rule 185 related to Conflict of Interest; in her speech she said “this was vital for promoting transparency”. However, Nishtar’s proposed amendment pertaining to conflict of interest safeguards, and aimed at institutionalising conflict of interest disclosure with a view to promoting public interest, transparency and good governance was vehemently opposed by the House. “I am deeply disappointed” she said afterwards in her tweet.
November 24, 2024:On 21–24 November 2023, 20 senior decision makers and influencers with extensive engagement with the UHC movement and in successfully elevating health onto the highest political agenda convened in person at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Centre in Italy. The aim of the convening was to ensure that we keep UHC high on the agenda. Three months following the UN High-level meeting on Universal Health Coverage (September 21), a closed-door retreat was a timely opportunity for frank discussions, stocktaking, and forward planning to develop a more strategic approach on how to leverage and engage the broader UHC movement mid-point to the SDGs.
International Politics, Leadership and Diplomacy for Health Conference
November 20, 2023: Senator Sania Nishtar participated in the invitation only conference on “International Politics, Leadership and Diplomacy for Health”. The conference was organized by Anders Nordstrom, former Ambassador for Global Health, Norway. The conference was part of a project which aims help expand a cadre of professionals competent in international politics and diplomacy, who can effectively navigate in the political landscape of health across the world. It represents a collaborative effort between two leading academic institutions, the Stockholm School of Economics (House of Governance and Public Policy) and Karolinska Institutet (Department of Global Public Health). Dr Sania Nishtar attended the meeting as an invited expert.
Resolution on food systems at COP 28
November 13, 2023: Senator Nishtar’s Resolution on COP 28 was not supported by the Senate majority today, purely for political reasons. In her tweet she stated “I was deeply disappointed yesterday, when the Senate majority rejected this Resolution urging the Government of Pakistan to develop food systems-related institutional mechanisms in line with Pakistan’s global commitments ahead of COP-28. On the one hand, climate change, Pakistan’s burgeoning population, the precarious water scarcity situation and the tendency to use arable land for lucrative housing schemes is creating serious food security challenges, and is threatening the future of generations, but on the other hand, our toxic political environment is not just hampering the country’s progress on such existential matters, it is also undermining Pakistan’s reputation globally”
Future Council Bill in the Senate
November 13, 2023: Senator Sania Nishtar’s Future Council Bill was presented in the Senate today and did not receive support. In a tweet she stated “Planning for the future is crucial for a country as it underpins growth, development, stability, and the overall well-being of its citizens. However, as opposed to this, future planning in Pakistan remains fragmented and heavily politicized; it is held hostage to the politics of patronage and policy vacillation which is inherent to change in government. The idea of “Pakistan’s Future Council” outlined in my Bill was to draw on the expertise of independent reputed experts and provide advice and recommendations to the government on long-term policy formulation particularly in the economic and related realms with conflict-of-interest safeguards on the one hand, and to evaluate progress towards achieving long term goals, on the other. Sadly, the Bill was thwarted due to the inherent tendency within the political system to undermine transparency, and accountability and the innate desire to keep political considerations supreme”
Senator Nishtar’s Bill to target subsidies
November 8, 2023: Senator Nishtar’s Bill titled “Pakistan Ehsaas Targeted Subsidies (Riayat) Program” has been forwarded to Senate Standing Committee for further deliberations. If this Bill passes and gets implemented, millions of families in Pakistan will be able to access a targeted subsidy on essential food items in these times of crippling 40% food inflation. In a tweet she stated “We had demonstrated the benefits and transparency of this program when it ran its operations in more than half the country from Feb-June 2022 and later in Punjab. For the sake of millions of poor families, I pray I succeed in getting this through!”
Senator Sania Nishtar’s Bill to provide for the protection of street vendors livelihood
October 28, 2023: Senator Sania Nishtar presented a Bill titled “A Bill to provide for the protection of street vendors’ livelihood” to the Senate Standing Committee, stressing once again that the institutional framework and regulatory arrangements embodied in the law draw on insights from a highly successful pilot and that if implemented effectively across federal and provincial jurisdictions, the law can be transformative for the livelihoods of over 10 million street vendors in Pakistan. “I hope such public interest and pro-poor legislation can draw on multi partisan support”, she said in her tweet.
World Health Summit, 2023 in Berlin
October 18, 2023: Senator Sania Nishtar was the only Pakistani speaking at the World Health Summit 2023 in Berlin this week. She spoke at the Keynote panel along with co-panellists, the German Minister of Health, Prof. Karl Lauterbach, the Brazilian Minister of Health, Nisia Veronica Trindade Lima, Prof. Ilona Kickbusch and other colleagues. The Summit commemorated the 75th anniversary of #WHO, which as the world’s only multilateral agency in health is critically needed but it’s weaknesses must be bridged.
On another panel, she joined Chris Elias, President of the BMGF and Loyce Pace, Assistant Secretary for Global Health, USA; they deliberated on women’s health issues and the need for a holistic approach to promote gender equality and the right to health throughout women’s lives.
Health can contribute to peace in the Eastern Mediterranean Region—what should be done to make it happen?
September 6, 2023: A commentary co-authored by Senator Sania Nishtar in The Lancet, makes an important case: “Health Equity and Gender Equality provides evidence that health and gender equality offer distinctive advantages to promoting peaceful societies”. This commentary is part of the
“The Lancet Commission on Peaceful Societies”. Read here:
The Lancet Evidence Based Implementation Commission in Global Health
September 25-27, 2023: A meeting of The Lancet Evidence Based Implementation Commission in Global Health was held in Chappel Hill from September 25-27, 2023. The meeting was hosted by Professor Herbert Peterson, Distinguished Professor of OBGYN and was attended by the full Commission.
The mandate of the Commission is to assess the current status of the generation and use of evidence for implementation and then create a blueprint for rapidly accelerating progress in evidence-based implementation in global health – with the goal of bridging the gap between the development of proven lifesaving and life-enhancing interventions and their full and effective use, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Senator Sania Nishtar attended the meeting as one of the Commissioners of the Lancet Evidence Based Implementation Commission in Global Health
Towards the dream of universal social protection: lessons from Pakistan’s Ehsaas
September 21, 2923: Senator Sania Nishtar and former Prime Minister Imran Khan publish a paper in Lancet Global Health about the need to scale up social protection, universally, drawing lessons from Pakistan’s flagship program, Ehsaas.
September 21, 2023: The High-Level meeting on Universal Health Coverage was a seminal event, and one of the highlights of the United Nations General Assembly, 2023. As part of the High-Level meeting, a multistakeholder panel was held with a focus on “Aligning our investments for health and well-being in a post-COVID world”. Dr Sania Nishtar was spoke on the panel about the role of Parliamentarisms in catalyzing investments for health. The text of her speech can be accessed here. The High-Level meeting was hosted by the President of United Nations General Assembly, Dennis Francis.
Parliamentary Forum on Population
September 19, 2023: Senator Sania Nishtar was one of the keynote speakers at the 9th Parliamentary forum on Population, hosted by the Population Council in Pakistan in Pakistan. “Pakistan’s growing population is one of the biggest human security challenges, the country faces”, she said.
Leadership in Global Health” Roundtable discussion
September 13, 2023: Accomplished and emerging leaders gathered at Imperial College London to discuss current demands for global health leadership, leveraging their experience in dealing with challenges in their respective contexts, and pursuing transformative health system change. The roundtable emphasised the need for innovative, equitable and inclusive leadership approaches as the global health landscape evolves. The Roundtable was organized by the George Institute for Global Health, Imperial College Business School, Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, and National University of Singapore. Speakers included Rt. Hon. Helen Clark, Dr Richard Horton, Senator Dr Sania Nishtar, Dr Ebere Okereke, Afifah Ismat Rahman-Shepherd and Prof. Helena Legido-Quigley.
The Lancet NUS PRIME Commission
September 13-14, 2023: Senator Sania Nishtar attended the first meeting of the NUS-Lancet Pandemic Readiness, Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Commission. The Commission is co-chaired by Rt. Hon. Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand; Senator Sania Nishtar, and Professor Helena Quigley Legido. The NUS PRIME Commission) aims to establish an independent Monitoring and Evaluation mechanism that assesses countries’ preparedness for and responses to pandemics. The Commission aims to redefine “health security” using a new framework and will offer a new monitoring framework based on a new set of principles and perspectives.
Law and Justice Committee of the Senate
August 31, 2023: Sania Nishtar attended the law and justice committee meeting of the Senate where she presented two Constitutional Amendments—Amendment to Article 140-A (reform of the local government system) and Amendment to Article 84 (reform in the budget process)
Local Government Forum at LUMS Lahore
August 25, 2023: Sania Nishtar spoke at the “Local Government Forum” which was held at LUMS Lahore. She explained the rationale behind the recent constitutional Amendment to Article 140-A moved by her in the Senate.
Sania Nishtar’s contribution in Senate Session of August 2023
June 27, 2023: A webinar was organized as a kick-off for the Hiroshima G7 Global Health Follow-up Initiative. This Follow-up Initiative is expected to serve as a driving force toward implementing commitments of past G7s for strengthening resilience to future pandemics, identifying the challenges at the end of Japan’s presidency, and passing the G7 baton to Italy. The primary objectives of the webinar are to 1) invite diverse actors in global health to collect their reflections on the 2023 G7’s agreement on pandemic prevention, preparedness, and response (PPR)/resilient health systems, and discuss possible actions to implement the G7 commitments (including those made by past G7s). The event was organized by Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE) in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the International Pandemic Preparedness Secretariat (IPPS), and the Wellcome Trust. Dr Sania Nisthar spoke at the event alongside Yasuhisa Shiozaki, Chair, Hiroshima G7 Global Health Follow-up Advisory Committee, and former Minister of Health underscored in her talk that UHC and health security are two intertwined goals, they are the two sides of the same coin to protect everyone, everywhere, especially disadvantaged populations.. #UHCHLM #UHC2030
June 23, 2023: Sania Nishtar attended the first in person meeting of the “Lancet Commission on Evidence-Based Implementation in Global Health”, in her capacity as a commissioner. The theme of the Commission centers on “Achieving Justice in Implementation” and its introductory details can be accessed in this Oped. https: //www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(23)00870-X/fulltext
The NUS–Lancet Pandemic Readiness, Implementation, Monitoring, and Evaluation Commission
June 21, 2023: Senator Sania Nishtar said in a statement that she was honoured to co-chair “The NUS-Lancet Pandemic Readiness, Implementation, Monitoring, and Evaluation Commission” Sania Nishtar, Helen Clark, a former prime minister of New Zealand, and Professor Helena Legido Quigley will co-chair the commission. Access the article that the co-chairs and Richard Horton, Editor of the Lancet, co-published in The Lancet to introduce the Commission here: https://t.co/pD5mtGueYV. I appreciate your support of evidence-based medicine.
Oped titled “What the budget should have been”
June 20, 2023: Sania writes in the News International outlining how it was entirely possible to espouse a double bottom line budget approach balancing expansion of welfare spending and dispensation of relief with evidence of a commitment to structural reform, austerity measures and fiscal discipline. The Oped can be accessed here: https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/1082463-what-the-budget-should-have-been
The EU must step up its actions and leadership on global health
June 16, 2023; Sania Nishtar joins Ole Petter Ottersen, Rhoda Wanyenze, Benoit Miribel, and Detlev Ganten to write an Oped in the British Medical Journal calling the EU to step up its actions and leadership on global health. The Oped can be accessed here: https://www.bmj.com/content/381/bmj.p1359
Webinar titled “Crisis to Catastrophe: Pakistan’s economic situation”
June 13, 2023: Sania Nishtar was one of the key speakers at a webinar chaired by former Prime Minister Imran Khan where she spoke about the need for a double bottom line budget strategy in view of Pakistan’s recent economic crisis. The full recording of the webinar can be accessed here: youtu.be/L6vYpXnZARg
Sania Nishtar’s budget speech
June 12, 2023: Senator Sania Nishtar’s speech in the senate on the budget can be accessed here: youtu.be/U0qCGhOuoHE
Who Suffers if Pakistan defaults
May 27, 2023: Sania publishes in the News International on the state of Pakistan’s economy and its impact for the poor. Access article here: https://t.co/PsSXAu2x6Z
Sania Opens Scholarship portal to help needy students
May 24, 2023: in a public message relayed via twitter, Sania Nishtar solicited applications from needy students. “I will share your information with prospective donors” she said, adding “I will try my best to help you”. The Scholarship portal can be accessed here https://t.co/nMVTCfXmop
Participation in the Asian Parliamentary Association convening
May 17, 2023: Dr Sania Nishtar participated in the Asian Parliamentary Association Standing Committee on Economic and Social Development’s meeting, which was held in Bahrain on May 17. On the sidelines of the meetings, she also held many bilateral meetings with the delegations of Iran, Qatar, Indonesia, and Turkey to explore cross country learning in the social sectors.
Keynote talk at the launch of the Lives and Livelihoods Fund
May 13, 2023: Dr Sania Nishtar gave the keynote talk at the launch ceremony of the Lives and Livelihoods Fund during the Islamic Development Bank Annual Meetings 2023. The launch event happened during the Lives and Livelihoods Fund development colloquium which was a discussion forum engaging high profile speakers to invest in strategic partnerships to invest in human development.
Commentary in The Lancet on the future of Pandemics
May 12, 2023, Helena Legido-Quigley, Helen Clark, Sania Nishtar, as co-chairs of the new PRIME lancet Commission along with Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet publish a commentary in the Lancet titled, “Reimagining health security and preventing future pandemics: the NUS–Lancet Pandemic Readiness, Implementation, Monitoring, and Evaluation Commission. The commentary can be accessed here https://t.co/pD5mtGueYV
May, 3. 2023. Sania Nishtar joins other UHC Political Advisors as a co-author in the Lancet piece which can be accessed here: Realising the right to health for all people—UHC is the umbrella to deliver health for all. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(23)00202-4
Policy statement on Street Vendors’ new Policy
May 2, 2023. Sania Nishtar has released a video strongly protesting the government’s decision to auction street vending stalls.
Closure of Panahgahs
April 30, 2023. Sania Nishtar has released a video strongly protesting the government’s decision to close Panahgahs (Shelter homes) for daily wage workers
Chaired a State and Frontier Region Senate Sub-Committee Meeting
8th April 2023: While chairing the States & Frontier Region Senate Sub-committee in Peshawar, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar reviewed progress in relation to systems mandated by the committee including 1) biometrics for attendance; 2) geotagging for veracity of development schemes; 3) e-Procurement for transparency in procurements.
Pakistan’s Senate unanimously passes a resolution sponsored by Senator Sania to commemorate WHO’s 75thAnniversary
7th April 2023: Pakistan’s senate passes a Resolution to commemorate WHO’s contributions. Presented by Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, the resolution recognized WHO’s critical role in advancing health globally by improving disease prevention and care, addressing health disparities, and advocating for investments in sustainable health systems for all.
Strategy Retreat of the WHO Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research
March 31, 2023, Senator Sania Nishtar joined the strategy retreat of the WHO Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research in London from March 29-31. The purpose of the retreat was to review the context in which the Alliance operates, current health trends and priorities, gaps in policy and systems research as well as the landscape of global health research and to provide insights on a way forward. The retreat was chaired by Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand.
Session at the UK House of Parliament
March 29, 2023: Senator Sania Nishtar joined as a speaker at an event held at the UK House of Parliament. This event was hosted by Baroness Finlay head of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health and the Chatham House Commission for Universal Health. The event was titled Crisis as a catalyst: Reforming Universal Health Coverage for 2030 and beyond”. Other speakers included Rt Hon Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand; former Jeanette Vega, Minister of Chile; Rob Yates and Ayoade Alakija.
Op-ed on Subsidy Gone Wrong
24th March 2023: In a recently published op-ed in The News International, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar has accentuated that instead of leveraging the infrastructure of Ehsaas Rashan Riayat- an existing, tried and tested targeted subsidy programme, the present government chose to implement an entirely new, parallel programme, without due diligence and evidence-based design. Interim governments of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have recently launched a free atta (flour) initiative. This initiative, which aims to give families some relief from unprecedented food inflation during Ramadan is seriously flawed in its design.
14th March 2023: Lancet has published a comment, “It is time for ambitious, transformational change to the epidemic countermeasures ecosystem”. This is authored by Helen Clark, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, Marcos da Silva Freire, Petro Terblanche and other members of the group.
Keynote speech at the Convocation of Namal University
12th March 2023: Dr Sania Nishtar was invited to keynote the Convocation ceremony of Namal University in Mianwali, Pakistan. Namal University is a one of a kind University where the expenses of more than 95% of the students are underwritten by the university. In her address, she stressed upon the importance of contribution to nation building during the current crises which Pakistan is facing.
Rs. 2.4 million cash distributed among Ehsaas Rehribaans
10th March 2023: A ceremony was held in I-10 Markaz Islamabad wherein cash grant worth Rs. 2.4 million was distributed among 28 Ehsaas Rehribaans. Their vending carts had been destroyed by the government and authorities in Islamabad. Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar was the chief guest at the event. The cash assistance for Rehribaan was donated by Pakistanis in Dubai and fundraising was done by Dr. Hadia.
Keynote address at the Health Science Research Assembly
1st March 2023: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to keynote the 14th Health Science Research Academy. The event was hosted by Aga Khan University. Dr. Sania shared lessons and experiences from Ehsaas programme.
Ehsaas 2047 documentary released online
27th February 2023: A documentary titled, “Ehsaas 2047” has been released. Narrated by Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar and filmed on locations across Pakistan, the documentary centers on beneficiaries of various components of Ehsaas Programme and gathers testimonials from them focusing on the benefits of specific interventions.The documentary can be accessed here: https://www.ehsaas2047.com/documentaries
President Arif Alvi launches Ehsaas 2047 documentary
23rd February 2023: Ehsaas 2047 documentary got screened at the President’s House in the presence of the Honorable President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Dr. Arif Alvi. The documentary captured Pakistan’s historic effort towards creating a welfare state through Ehsaas programme.
Op-ed on Targeting Subsidies
21st February 2023: In an Op-ed published in The News International, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar shared insights on how Ehsaas built an ecosystem to enable targeting of subsidies to benefit the poor, rather than the untargeted trillions from which the elite currently benefit. She emphasized that far from dismantling it, now more than ever we need to consolidate Ehsaas’ system.
Digital Payment Systems could revolutionize healthcare: Sania argues in Project Syndicate
21st February 2023: Project Syndicate has published an article penned by Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar on digital payments, and how they can serve as the backbone on which new systems can be built: systems that deliver, and where transparency and accountability are hardwired. The article can be accessed here:
17th February 2023: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar joined the Bellagio consultation on “Advancing a new approach to pandemic tools as common goods”. The meeting was chaired by Helen Clark. Discussions took place with experts, academics and civil society organizations in order to course correct. Dr. Sania shared insights from the developing world.
Ehsaas Rehribaan stalled: an Op-ed about street vendors
14th February 2023: “At a time when households are struggling due to record inflation, destroying Ehsaas Rehribaans’ source of income is cruel and unwarranted by the present government. The city administration must immediately cease this senseless destruction of vending carts in the name of anti-encroachment. Both the city administration as well as the ministry must compensate these vendors for the damage and reinstate their licenses. The poor must not become collateral damage amidst political rivalries”, highlights Dr. Sania in an op-ed published in The News International.
Participation in deliberations at Nobel Forum Stockholm
12th February 2023: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar was invited to the Nobel Forum Stockholm to participate in the deliberations on operationalizing the new EU Global Health Strategy. The forum was hosted by Ole Petter Ottersen, President of Swedish Medical University Karolinska Institutet. Dr. Sania spoke at the closing plenary.
Resolution moved in Senate on Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarships
6th February 2023: Expressing deep concern that there will be “no further entries” in the Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship program, a resolution was moved in Senate by Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar. The resolution got rejected in the House merely due to political rivalries. Dr. Sania made a speech in favour of continuation of Ehsaas Undergraduate Scholarship in the Senate. Watch here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IkV3nQ_Mbfs
Ehsaas Rehribaans’ carts destroyed in Islamabad
4th February 2023: The street vendor carts installed under the Ehsaas programme were destroyed by the present government and authorities in I-10 Markaz of Islamabad at 3 am. Early morning, Senator Dr. Sania visited the site and met with victimized Ehsaas Rehribaans. Condemning this act, Dr. Sania said, “What the city administration did cannot be justified on any grounds. Instead of renewing the vendors’ one-year licenses, they reneged on their commitment to them.”
UHC Movement Political Advisory Panel Meeting
2nd February 2023: The UHC Movement Political Advisory Panel met to discuss the UN High-level meeting on universal health coverage (UHC) and how to strengthen a coherent health agenda. Being a member of the advisory panel, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar spoke at the meeting.
Speech in Senate on lack of respect for policy process
31st January, 2023: Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar made a speech in the Senate about the lack of respect for the policy process, the disregard for evidence in policy making and the lack of meaningful accountability in decision making as being the core determinants of most of our failures. Watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wk5LUsJcvAo
Speech in the Senate about the state of Pakistan’s economy
26th January 2023: Dr. Sania spoke on the state of Pakistan’s economy at the Senate session. She presented unbiased analysis of our economy and suggested realistic solutions to tackle the issue. Watch here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFIUyUjxdo4
Imperative for caretakers to continue Ehsaas Rashan Riayat: Sania
23rd January 2023: “Over the last 5 months, we enacted the Punjab Ehsaas Act, guaranteeing govt assistance to all under the poverty line & rolled out Ehsaas Rashan Riayat across Punjab. Given crippling inflation, it is imperative the caretaker government continues these initiatives”, said Former Chairperson Punjab Ehsaas, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar while taking to twitter after the dissolution of Punjab Assembly.URL:https://twitter.com/SaniaNishtar/status/1617565128534228994
Geo Fact-check: Documents show Imran Khan did collect Rs. 4.8bn for flood victims
21st January 2023: Senator Dr Sania Nishtar was tasked by former PM Imran Khan to oversee the collection and distribution of funds for victims of floods in Pakistan. She had revealed that Khan’s live telethons received pledges amounting to Rs. 15 billion, of which Rs. 4.6 billion have been received so far. But rival politicians accused Sania Nishtar of exaggerating the amount collected till then. Later, Geo Fact-Check confirmed that Dr. Sania’s statement was accurate. Documents shared by Dr. Sania with Geo Fact Check showed that PTI received Rs. 4.8 billion out of the Rs. 15 billion pledges made, in three live telethons held by Imran Khan last year.
Standing Committee on States & Frontier Regions held
17th January 2023: A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on States and Frontier Regions was held. Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar joined the meeting. She lauded that the committee is spearheading a transparency initiative, which amongst other things entails tracking all development schemes with pre, during & post progress images archived.
Sania urges Utility stores to join Ehsaas Rashan Riayat
17th January 2023: Former Chairperson Punjab Ehsaas programme, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar tweeted a letter dated 5th January 2023 that she wrote to Managing Director, Utility Stores Corporation (USC) to participate in Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat. In a tweet, she urged that with unprecedented inflation, it’s become critical for USC to join Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Program and offer a targeted subsidy on commodities through their ~1800 stores in Punjab.
Instructional video to solve geolocation issues of Ehsaas Kiryana merchants released
17th January 2023: Many Kiryana merchants participating in the Punjab Ehsaas Rashan programme had complained about geolocation issues on the Ehsaas Kiryana app. “We are addressing it on an urgent basis”, said Dr. Sania in an instructional video. Watch here. https://twitter.com/SaniaNishtar/status/1615355678331400192
Meeting with CM Punjab on Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat
10th January 2023: Chairperson Punjab Ehsaas programme, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar called on Chief Minister Punjab and briefed him on the progress of Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat programme. Other meetings included meeting of Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat steering committee, a visit to the call center and several other programme reviews.
Meetings on Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat and Punjab Ehsaas Tahafuz convened
24th December 2022: With Chairperson Punjab Ehsaas, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar in chair, several meetings were held regarding Ehsaas Rashan Riayat (targeted commodity subsidies) and Ehsaas Tahafuz (health financing) Punjab Program and Chairman Imran Khan’s Flood Relief Telethon Funding.
Sania joins LUMS panel on fostering inclusive development
24th December 2022: At the LUMS panel on “Fostering Inclusive Development”, Chairperson Punjab Ehsaas programme, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar stressed that the pathway to addressing inequality is not just through inclusive-growth centered approaches, but that a range of policy interventions other than inclusive growth can also narrow inequalities.
17th December 2022: Chairperson Punjab Ehsaas, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar met young girls and women at one of the 300 plus schools for disabled children run by the government of Punjab. She was touched by their spirit and resilience. She assured that she would be recommending enhancement of budgets to support infrastructure to better serve students with disabilities.
CSD stores participating in Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat
4th December 2022: In a tweet, Chairperson Punjab Ehsaas, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar announced that the Canteen Stores Department (CSD) stores will serve Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat beneficiaries. 8 million deserving families of Punjab will benefit from this programme. “I hope Utility Stores Corporation will soon join Ehsaas Rashan Riayat for public interest”, urged Dr. Sania.
Update on flood relief housing compensation disbursal in KPK
2nd December 2022: In interest of transparency, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar released an update on disbursements of flood relief housing compensation among flood affectees. She shared that Rs. 1.2 billion has been contributed by Chairman Imran Khan’s telethon flood relief funds received in the CM KPK Flood relief fund. Further details at https://rc.kpitb.gov.pk/landing-dashboard.
Guest of Honour at Khyber Medical College Convocation
30th November 2022: The annual convocation for the class of 2018-19 was hosted by Khyber Medical College in Peshawar. Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar was the guest of honour. “I am deeply humbled to have been invited to my alma mater Khyber Medical College. Congratulations to all graduating students and award winners!”, said Dr. Sania.
Flood relief housing assistance disbursements kick off in Punjab
21st November 2022: After the digital survey was completed last week, the financial assistance was released for 55,452 flood-affected houses in Punjab and the delivery of relief funds of Rs. 9.6 billion rupees began provincewide, in which 2 billion was provided by the flood telethon and 7.6 billion by the Punjab government. In a ceremony, CM Punjab and Chairperson Punjab Ehsaas, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar met with the eligible families and inaugurated the payments.
Panel at The Economist Intelligence Units event “Future of Healthcare Week Asia”
November 15, 2022: Dr Sania Nishtar joined a high level panel at the “Future of Healthcare Week Asia” in Singapore. Organized by The Economist Intelligence Unit, this session titled “Removing silos—collaborating for success in health” featured a discussion around collaboration within the context of the Pandemic.
Sania chairs steering committee meeting of Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat
12th November 2022: A steering Committee meeting of Punjab Ehsaas Rashan Riayat programme was held in Lahore. Chairperson Punjab Ehsaas, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar chaired the meeting. Preparations for the launch of the Punjab Ehsaas are underway on fast-track basis for the past two weeks and are currently in the final stages. Alongside the above, daily online review meetings and a workshop was also held at Holy Family Hospital Rawalpindi to prepare for the launch of Punjab Ehsaas Tahafuz.
19th October 2022: The Punjab Assembly has passed the “Punjab Ehsaas Programme Bill 2022”. The Bill was moved by Chairperson Punjab Ehsaas, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar. With this bill, Pakistan’s largest province (Population over 110 million) commits itself to universal social protection, a seminal undertaking to address rising inequality, post COVID, inflationary and climate related stresses.
September 21, 2022: Sania Nishtar virtually joined the meeting of the SUN Lead Group as a member of the lead group. This meeting was held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York at the UNICEF headquarter.
Keynote at the16th Singapore Public Health & Occupational Medicine Conference
September 9, 2022: Dr Sania Nishtar keynoted the 16th Singapore Public Health & Occupational Medicine Conference virtually. This year’s conference, “Reinventing Health for All”, looked at the progress in the field of healthcare, as well as recalibrating to reflect what other health issues deserve more attention and the challenges that lie ahead in addressing them, particularly in view of the COVID situation.
Common wealth human rights working group meeting
July 7, 2022: As a member of the Commonwealth human rights working group, Dr Sania attended its second meeting.
Important pandemic Preparedness meeting in Stockholm
June 27-28: The Government of Sweden organized a meeting titled “From one health crisis to the next – or not? Taking stock and moving forward”. Dr. Sania was amongst a selected group of experts invited to the meeting.
Sania speaks at a Plenary session at the Aspen Ideas Festival
June 24, 2022: The Aspen Institute organized a session on Decolonizing Global Health during its annual Aspen Ideas Festival. Dr Sania spoke at the session. Full session can be downloaded here:
Virtual World Bank-IMF Spring Meetings Public Event: Human Capital at the Crossroad: Reversing the Losses, Reclaiming our Future
June 23, 2022: A key public event of the world bank centered on the role of human capital building in relation to recovery from COVID 19 in today’s world. Speakers included David Malpass, President of the World Bank, Samia Suluhu Hassan, President of Tanzania, Mary Pangetsu, Malala Yusufzai, Amina Mohammad, Dr Morena Makhona, Gostavo Beliz, and Sania Nishtar. Speakers reiterated that protecting and investing in people is central to sustainable resilience. Watch here:
Senate Speech on the Budget
June 20, 2022: Dr Sania’s Speech in the Senate about the Budget 2022/23 can be accessed here
The Chatham House Commission for Universal Health
June 8, 2022: Dr. Sania Nishtar has been invited to join the Chatham House Commission for Universal Health. The aim of the Commission for Universal Health is to encourage and inspire political leaders to launch universal health reforms emerging from the COVID-19 crisis. The Commission is charged with identifying countries with significant potential in the wake of the pandemic to adopt universal health reforms in a way that addresses universal health coverage (UHC) and health security for all and supports healthy lifestyles and population wellness. The Commission is currently made up of 37 commissioners, two co-chairs and a secretariat, and is co-chaired by President Kikwete and Helen Clark
Session on pandemic preparedness on the sidelines of the World Health Assembly
May 23, 2022: Session on pandemic preparedness on the sidelines of the World Health Assembly Dr Sania attended a session on pandemic preparedness hosted by McKinsey.
The panel discussion provided an opportunity for senior experts to reflect on their in-depth experiences leading responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr Sania shared her experience about Ehsaas Emergency Cash.
World Bank South Asia Gender Panel
May 12, 2022: For many women in South Asia, accessing economic opportunities remains a challenge despite decades of economic development in the region. Deeply rooted social norms account for a large share of these gaps. Hans Timmer hosted a panel discussion to dig deep on these issues. A short presentation on the main findings of the South Asia Economic Focus 2022: Reshaping Social Norms about Gender: A New Way Forward, was also presented. View here
Farewell to Sania Nishtar as Minister of Poverty Alleviation
April 11, 2022: Following the Prime Minister losing the vote of confidence in Parliament, the Cabinet has been dissolved. Dr Sania Nishtar was given a farewell by the staff of the Poverty Alleviation Ministry. Her unprecedented contributions were richly lauded by all.
Health Taxes During the Recovery from COVID-19
April 19, 2022: The Center for Global Development hosted a conversation on how the IMF and World Bank can build on their track record in tobacco, alcoholic and sugary beverages taxes to help low in middle income countries bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic. The panel included Mario Mansour, IMF; Mamta Murthi, World Bank; Karambu Muthaura, Government of Kenya; and Sania Nishtar, Government of Pakistan. Amanda Glassman, Executive Vice President, Center for Global Development was the moderator.
Ehsaas Rashan Riayat Steering Committee adopts new supply model to ensure benefit to 20 million families
April 1, 2022 – Islamabad: The third meeting of Steering Committee for Ehsaas Rashan Riayat took place at the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD). Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM chaired the meeting. Members of the steering committee approved the adoption of new supply driven model for implementation of Ehsaas Rashan Riayat programme to ensure that the programme benefits 20 million deserving families. “In order to reach even more beneficiaries and maximize impact of Ehsaas Rashan Riayat for up to 20 million families, Ehsaas is now introducing a new “supply driven” model to enroll all families currently surveyed in the Ehsaas National Socioeconomic Registry database and under Proxy Means Test 44 for the Ehsaas Rashan Riayat, without them having to register for the programme. All members of eligible families will be sent an SMS. Any member from the family with a CNIC and SIM registered in the name of a family member can then avail the subsidy.
Sania opens Ehsaas Tahafuz portal for hospital empanelment
April 1, 2022 – Islamabad: In a meeting held at Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division, Senator Dr. Sania Nishtar, SAPM officially opened the portal of Ehsaas Tahafuz (https://ehsaastahafuz.pass.gov.pk/) for empanelment of public hospitals under the precision safety net programme. “Ehsaas Tahafuz is an innovative health financing system which is fund based. This complements the insurance-based Sehat Sahulat programme. It ensures the universal health coverage and protects people from Catastrophic Health Expenditures”, expressed Dr. Sania. The programme provides health facility to those patients who fall under certain poverty level and are unable to receive treatment from Sehat Sahulat programme for any circumstances. Tahafuz currently covers around 900 treatments packages across 21 departments. For now, Tahafuz has partnered with 14 public sector hospitals across all seven federating units and covers “out of pocket expenditures” associated with pre-approved treatment packages.
Ehsaas Raabta app available on Google Playstore
March 31, 2022 – Islamabad: “Ehsaas Raabta” app has been launched with beneficiary centered information about the programme. The mobile app is available on the Google Playstore at this link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=pk.gov.ehsaas.sub_kay_liye. “Ehsaas Raabta” app guides a common man about various benefits and services being offered through different programmes of Ehsaas. Instructional information in Urdu allows users to understand information of Ehsaas programmes and initiatives. Through the app, anyone intending to know about his entitlements for various benefits under Ehsaas will go to the Ehsaas 8171 web portal section. Once the QR code mentioned on the backside of Ehsaas Card is scanned, the app will inform the user about the whole range of entitlements for his/her family under Ehsaas. Instructional video can be watched here.
Ehsaas National Data Exchange Portal launched
March 31, 2022 – Islamabad: Work on National Data Exchange Portal (NDEP) has formally concluded. NDEP for the Ehsaas’ National Socioeconomic Registry is one of the six main pillars of One Window Ehsaas. With NDEP, the implementing agencies of Ehsaas will be empowered to ascertain what benefits an individual or a family is getting by just keying in the CNIC number of an individual. More importantly, the benefits which each family and individual is getting from each implementing agency will also be visible to all agencies under Ehsaas programme. “In the past, there was no way of one government agency knowing what support an individual or a family was getting from another government agency. Some families with connections and influence were getting multiple benefits and other more deserving ones were getting none”, said Dr. Sania.
Federal cabinet approves Ehsaas Tahafuz, a fund-based health financing system
March 31, 2022 – Islamabad: Federal Cabinet has approved the Ehsaas Catastrophic Health Expenditure Policy and Ehsaas Tahafuz through circulation. Through this policy, Ehsaas Tahafuz, has been approved, which is a fund-based health financing system. Ehsaas Tahafuz will complement the insurance-based Sehat Sahulat programme to ensure the universal health coverage and protect people from Catastrophic Health Expenditure. Extensive two-year-long work has been done on Ehsaas Tahafuz which is country’s first shock-oriented precision safety net. Ehsaas Tahafuz is primarily premised on coverage principles to complement government’s existing Sehat Sahulat programme and plug in any gaps. “Ehsaas Tahafuz will run as per the parameters outlined in this policy to complement Sehat Sahulat to ensure efficient use of public resources and to build synergies between complementary programmes”, said Dr. Sania Nishtar while chairing the review meeting of Ehsaas Tahafuz.