Common diseases threat to Nepalis abroad

Kathmandu, March 18:

A recently launched report on The State of Migrant Health has identified lack of timely access to medical treatment for common diseases as the main cause of the death of Nepali migrant workers (NMWs) in foreign countries.

The report published by Nepal Institute of Development Studies and Co-ordination of Action Research and AIDS and Mobility (CARAM)-Asia said NMWs lose their lives due to lack of timely and proper treatment of common diseases like stomach ache, high fever, malaria, jaundice, blood pressure and summer boils.

“Usually, the migrant workers either don’t report to the employers about their diseases or try to visit a nearest health centre for fear of losing the job,” the report said.

Moreover, the costly medical service and unreasonable strict rules and regulations under which the migrants work, prevent them from seeking treatment, the report said.

According to Ganesh Gurung, chairperson of CARAM-Asia, there are more than 1.4 million Nepalis working in Gulf countries and other rapidly industrialising Asian countries, who bring in Rs 65 billion as remittance every year, but there is no national policy to ensure their health rights.

He blamed the government for being inapt to maintain keep record of or investigating in to the cause of death of migrant workers.

“Lack of clear policy on the issue is solely responsible for the high rate of NMW deaths,” he said adding that there should be proper government policy to ensure migrant workers’ health.

The report further said that the government rule of compulsory orientation classes to those going to foreign countries for employment has failed to bring about expected results because majority of the migrant workers do not attend the classes.

“Majority of the workers do not attend the orientation classes and the curriculum doesn’t include health care issues and there is no mechanism to share information on the migrant workers’ rights between the sending and the receiving countries,” the report said.