Since the Covid-19 outbreak has now been classified as a pandemic, Ehsaas has come up with preventive measures for Kafaalat beneficiaries to ensure their safety while trying to continue biometrically enabled Kafaalat payments in the field. Taking into consideration, the current situation wherein the Corona epidemic has potentially affected several areas of Pakistan, Kafaalat registration centers mobilized by NADRA across 15 districts of Pakistan have been advised to suspend self-registration drive from March 16, 2020, till April 5, 2020. Alongside that, Ehsaas has issued precautionary protocols to stringently comply with sanitization, hygiene, and social distance while making biometrically enabled payments to Ehsaas Kafaalat beneficiaries. To ascertain the compliance of the above beneficiary safety and protection system aimed to combat the corona outbreak, Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation visited an HBL Konnect outlet in Islamabad and demonstrated the precautionary procedure to the women who had gathered at the point of sales to get newly released tranche of Rs. 9,000 that includes previous arrears. Ehsaas has advised banks to ensure that sanitizers and alcohol wipes (90% alcoholic) are made available at all BVS TouchPoints and Point of Sales Agents serving payments during the provision of services. Before fingerprints verification, the beneficiaries are being guided as to how to wash hands with the sanitizers and alcoholic wipes. After the use of biometric devices, the beneficiaries are guided to rewash their hands with soaps and sanitizers as well. Speaking to media amid the uncertainty of Coronavirus, Dr. Nishtar reiterated, “The precautionary decisions have been taken to avoid any risk of contributing to the potential spread of epidemic among Ehsaas beneficiaries. Ehsaas strongly believes that the safety and wellness of our people come first. We are monitoring the situation closely and are following the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidance to ensure best practices.” She then continued, “We had an easy option to discontinue the Kafaalat disbursements infield, but we preferred to cater to the pressing financial needs of the women benefitting under Kafaalat by ensuring their health and safety in this situation.” The precautionary protocols issued under Ehsaas will ensure uninterrupted Kafaalat payments in the field.


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