Govt told to focus on prevention of diseases

Kathmandu, April 7

Although the country has achieved a great success in reducing maternal and child mortality rate and in ensuring rights to reproductive health of females, the government has failed to focus on the postnatal deaths of mothers and children, prevention of diseases and health status of senior citizen, concluded health experts at a programme here today.

At a discussion programme on Ten Years of Public-private Partnership in Healthcare, jointly organised by the Ministry of Health and Population and Nyaya Health Nepal in Kathmandu today, Dr Sudha Sharma, former health and population secretary, said the government had been focusing more on curative service rather than on preventive measures.

She said, “The government has provided relief fund for non-communicable diseases and also made a provision of health insurance. But if the government doesn’t focus on preventive measures, the curative service programme of the government cannot be sustained in the long run.”

Nyaya Health Nepal has been partnering with the government for 10 years to provide integrated healthcare from hospitals to houses to more than 230,000 individuals in Achham and Dolakha districts.

Director at Nursing and Social Security Division under the Department of Health Services Roshani Tuitui said community health workers were the best models for providing health services in the rural area.

They have been helping inform people about the diseases and reduce maternal and child mortality rate, according to Tuitui.

She said, “Along with the paradigm shift of diseases, we also require skilled, trained and professional health workers. Earlier communicable diseases were the challenges for the government but now, non-communicable diseases are posing greater threat to the public health.” She underscored the need to focus on deputing trained nurses at every level so that they could make a difference in local levels.

Speaking on universal health coverage and the role of community health workers, Dr Aruna Upreti, a women and health rights activist, said only focusing on drugs and medical health services would not enhance the hygiene level and healthy lifestyle of the people.

“Locally available products in the community have rich nutrition value. Community health workers need to be informed and educated about this fact for awareness-raising among the locals,” she said.

Sushil Pyakurel, chief specialist at MoHP and Bhagwan Koirala, professor at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, had highlighted the importance of public-private partnership in health sector. They also emphasised on the importance of female community health volunteers and financial and managerial support within public and private stakeholders for a healthier community.

Koirala stressed the government was the key to building better health systems.