Govt slammed for diarrhoea handling

KATHMANDU: Standing committee member of Unified CPN-Maoist Girirajmani Pokharel today accused the government of not coordinating with the main opposition party in fighting the diarrhoeal epidemic that has taken more than 300 lives.

"Leadership failure in the health ministry has led to the tragedy," claimed the former health minister. Pokharel said the government had failed to tackle the epidemic on time while the ministry had failed to lead the campaign.

He said the problem had aggravated as the government had failed to coordinate with local representatives in the affected areas. Pokharel said as many as 79 personnel had left for several diarrhoea-hit places as part of the three-month Integrated Health Campaign launched by his party.

The IHC has been provided with Rs 3.4 million collected from the PLA, Newa State Committee and Kathmandu Rukum Republican Forum. Asked about the reports blaming the rice provided by the World Food Programme for the deaths, Pokharel said the matter should be looked into.

Krishna Regmi 'Bibash", chief, PLA Health Department, said the Maoist combatants had chipped in Rs 1.4 million for the diarrhoea victims.

At a cost of Rs 1.7 million, the PLA's medical team has treated some 6,000 patients in the affected regions. The 65-member health team has been running 23 mobile camps since July 4. Regmi said many families had left their homes to escape the epidemic while others had sold all their property to buy medicine for the patients.

"Some health posts are charging as much as Rs 1,000 per bottle of saline water," he said, adding, the people were still compelled to drink impure water.