Move to build 396 hospitals amid pandemic meets scepticism

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Move to build 396 hospitals amid pandemic meets scepticism

Managing human resources will be the key challenge as a government study says 116,000 additional personnel, four times the existing provision, will be required for the proposed hospitals.
In June Siddhartha Aauji, who cleaned toilets at Bayalpata Hospital in Achham district, set himself on fire in front of the hospital, after he was sacked, along with 32 others for lack of resources, and subsequently died of the injuries sustained. The international award-winning hospital, completed in 2019, served not only people from the district but also from several neighboring ones.

On October 10 the government signed an eight-point agreement with Dr. Govinda KC, the social crusader who has been fighting a long battle with the government for improvements in the health sector, after his 19th fast-unto-death. The third point of the agreement reads, the government will “manage the budget to provide free health services at Bayalpata Hospital”.

To date, Bayalpata hospital has received nothing from the federal government.

“The federal government has not yet announced the allotment of budget to the hospital even after signing an agreement with Dr KC,” said Dr. Bikash Gauchan, healthcare director at the hospital. “The hospital already has enough problems due to fund shortage including shortage of emergency medicines. The funds from the centre would at least give us some respite in operating the facility smoothly.”

The federal government on Sunday, on the other hand, laid the foundations, amidst much fanfare, of 396 five to 15-bed hospitals across the country. Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali called the government moves a “revolution”.

Some have welcomed the move and are hopeful of a future with easy access to health services.

“No one in our village will now die for want of treatment and delay in reaching the hospital,” said Saraswoti Bhattarai, a resident of ward 11 in Shuklagandaki Municipality in Tanahun, where the foundation was laid for a new hospital. “We now have to go to Putalibazar in Syangja or Pokhara for treatment even for minor illnesses. Establishing a hospital here will save us the trouble.”

Source: The Kathmandu post


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