HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: The Population Division under the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has prepared a draft guideline for establishment of geriatric wards in hospitals.
Anil Thapa, demographer and focal person for geriatric issues at the division said, the guideline will get final touches in a month.
“For now, the guideline is meant to govern the operation of geriatric wards that the government is establishing at Patan Hospital and National Ayurvedic Training and Research Centre Kirtipur this fiscal year,” said Thapa.
The division also plans to establish geriatric wards at the Dharan-based BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences and Bharatpur hospital to provide a wide range of services to the elders with financial assistance from the health ministry.
As per the new guideline, people aged above 65 years old will get free indoor health care services worth up to Rs 5,000 per visit five times a year.
The government also plans to offer free OPD health services to the senior citizens. The guideline has a provision that each geriatric ward should have a specialist to serve the elders.
Thapa conceded tha the government has not been able to provide specialised health care services despite several efforts.
When the regulation is finalised, we will sign a memorandum of understanding with these hospitals and provide the facilities, said Thapa.
According to the ministry, elder people comprised 6.5 per cent of the total population in 2001. The projected growth of elders by 2031 is 10 per cent.
While the growth of elders by 2031 is expected to be about 3.5 million.
The dependency ratio for the old was 11 per cent in 2006 and it will be 14 per cent in 2031.
Life expectancy at birth, 65 years in 2011, is projected to be 71 years in 2031 and the population is expected to double in 31 years.
The country has been witnessing a rapid population growth due to increased access to health facilities, said the demographer.
At the same time, elderly people have been living with various diseases because health institutions lack facilities to cater to them, according to focal person at the division,