Providing better access to social protection including social health protection in Pakistan

Project description

Title: Support to Social Protection, including Social Health Protection (SP-SHP)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)​​​​​​​
Country: Pakistan
Lead executing agencies: Economic Affairs Division (EAD), Ministry of Economic Affairs, Government of Pakistan
Overall term: 2016 to 2023

Beneficiary receiving a Sehat Sahulat Program card at the enrolment centre in Lahore, Punjab


The majority of people in Pakistan are at chronic risk of falling into the poverty trap, working without protection against life-cycle risks such as illness, inability to work, poverty in old age and property loss. Health problems without social health protection pose a real threat of impoverishment: poor health impairs employability and productivity, while treatment expenditure depletes disposable income. Despite a strong constitutional commitment to provide social protection, the current social protection programmes mostly provide social assistance for the officially registered poor, covering only a fraction of the Pakistani population. While this mitigates the existing poverty, population-based access to an evolving system of social protection will keep people out of poverty in the advent of shocks. The current system has already started to positively impact the level of education and to promote good health. As it evolves further, it will contribute significantly towards a strong foundation for the country’s sustainable economic development.


The Government of Pakistan is now able to provide improved access to social protection services targeted towards people living in poverty and those at risk of falling into poverty.

A father updating his son’s beneficiary information to access social protection services in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa


The project assists social protection and social health protection initiatives by Pakistan’s Federal Government, and the provincial Governments of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Support measures include strategy development for policymakers, improving the capabilities of the implementing organisations, and bringing about structural improvements that contribute towards sustainable solutions. The project operates in three fields of work:

  • Improving evidence-based decision-making by relevant stakeholders in the area of social protection.
  • Building capabilities in the effective coordination of social-protection programmes in partner provinces.
  • Institutionalising the professional development of social health protection implementers.

Last update: September 2022

Additional information