Low health coverage increases risk of epidemic outbreak in Kathmandu Valley

Kathmandu, October 23

Residents of Kathmandu are highly vulnerable to diseases, as health care coverage in the capital city is very low compared to other parts of the country.

One example of low health coverage in Kathmandu is that the concerned body recently sent only 126,000 Vitamin A capsules against the required quantity of 1,57,000 pieces of the capsules during a recent campaign.

Residents of the registered households in Kathmandu Metropolitan City and municipalities are the target group of the DPHO. It is estimated that additional 30 per cent people live in rented rooms, and unregistered houses and slums.

“Even the far-flung VDCs of the remote districts have very good health coverage rate than Kathmandu,” said Mahendra Prasad Shrestha, chief of DPHO, Kathmandu. He informed that health coverage in KMC is worse compared to the rest of the country.

“Despite having big hospitals, nursing homes and hundreds of health facilities, overall health coverage in the

district is very poor,” said Shrestha, adding that a lot of people have been left out of the health coverage in Kathmandu.

He said Kathmandu was becoming the world’s least liveable city because of poor health coverage. “Cases of dengue, cholera, jaundice,

typhoid and other infectious diseases have already been reported in the Valley,” he said, adding that chances of epidemic outbreak remained high in Kathmandu Valley.

According to Shrestha, the reasons behind poor health coverage in Kathmandu is

because health workers do not have access to every household.

Health workers complain that even educated people living in high-rise buildings and colonies are not supportive of the government’s health programs.

The DPHO informed that overall health coverage of the district is just about 65 per cent, whereas the remote VDCs of rest of the country, including far-western region, has over 85 per cent coverage rate.

Health workers expressed worries over the low health coverage in Kathmandu. “We are at risk of all sorts of disease outbreaks,” said Jagat Nepali, chief of Alapot Health Post in Kathmandu.

He said risks of outbreaks increases in the places that have low health coverage rate.

According to Nepali, a lot of women in Kathmandu do not receive antenatal and postnatal care and not all children get fully immunised.

“Concerned health authorities are not paying proper attention to problems, which could have serious consequences,” he added.