Minister Thapa takes credit for ‘sweeping health care reforms’

Kathmandu, June 4

Minister of Health Gagan Kumar Thapa today said he introduced sweeping changes in the health sector.

Presenting a report card of his tenure, Minister Thapa said the reforms he introduced helped expand free health services and enhance the quality of care. The minister said the health ministry had enforced a provision of having two doctors at all primary health centres.

Speaking at a press conference at the health ministry, Thapa said the process of procuring 70 types of medicines that the public are entitled to get free from the government started only after he became the health minister. He said he wanted to hold the health portfolio again to realise his dream of reforming the country’s health sector.

The government made provisions for free transplantation of kidney, free diagnosis of VIA test, free surgical treatment to those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and cardiovascular disease.

Thapa also said dialysis services was being provided free of cost to kidney ailment sufferers. He said the government also started a health campaign with the slogan of ‘my year:  I am healthy, my country is healthy’ to promote healthy lifestyle.

“The government has also enforced cancer protocol with the objective of bringing uniformity in cancer treatment and providing maximum care at relatively low cost,” he added.

Minister Thapa said the most important achievement of his tenure was the preparation of a seven-year integrated health infrastructure development plan. He said the government would procure health equipment worth Rs 35 to 40 billion as per this plan. He also said that his ministry initiated the process to start post graduate courses in private medical colleges and zonal and regional hospitals to produce specialist doctors.

The minister said that in nine-and-a-half months, dozens of health policies and regulations were enacted which helped introduce reforms in the health sector.

The government has endorsed a liquor control policy and has also hiked taxes on liquor and tobacco products. He said he introduced smart health programmes.

Minister Thapa said the government had started selling medicines from its own pharmacies of 61 hospitals and it had made provisions for starting such pharmacies from all government hospitals within this fiscal.

He said hours of out-patient service were also extended in government hospitals. The minister said the government had made provisions to regulate private hospitals by strictly enforcing the rules of registration. He said the government had proposed to make all medical graduates serve in government hospitals at least for one year.