Minister urges government to allocate more budget for health sector

Kathmandu, July 19

The Ministry of Health and Population could not complete its planned projects and activities due to budget crunch, according to a progress report of fiscal 2018-19.

The report stated that the ministry completed only 79 per cent of the projects and activities in the fiscal year 2018-19, across the country.

From among 65 projects and activities mentioned in the policies and programmes of the fiscal, it completed 51 projects, 10 are in progress and work on four projects has yet to start.

According to the health ministry, it has failed to construct a building with 1,500 beds for Bir Hospital in Changu Narayan. The ministry was neither able to open trauma centres in seven provinces, nor it could provide MBBS doctors for each local level as mentioned in its policies and programmes.

“We have not been able to complete all the projects and activities due to lack of budget. The ministry received only 4.48 per cent of its total annual budget. Most of the budget allocated for the ministry was spent in salaries. We could only spend 0.48 per cent of the budget for development of health sector.  The government should allocate at least 10 per cent of the total budget if we have to bring positive changes in the health sector and upgrade health facilities in the country,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Health and Population Upendra Yadav.

The government has allocated Rs 56.41 billion budget for the ministry for the current fiscal.

Disseminating its progress report amidst a press meet today Pushpa Chaudhary, secretary at the ministry, said a total of 35,600 patients were provided financial assistance for treatment of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, renal failure, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, head and spinal injury and sickle cell anaemia. The government had spent a total of Rs 2.2 billion in financial assistance of such patients.

The government has been able to formulate eight laws on health related issues. It has been successful in formulating laws such as National Health Policy-2018, Public Health Service Act- 2018, National Health Insurance Policy, Safe Motherhood and Reproductive Health Rights Act-2018, among others, said Ram Prasad Thapaliya, secretary at the health ministry.  Of the total 744 under-construction buildings of health facilities across the country, construction work of 214 buildings was completed in the fiscal 2018-19.

“To provide quality health services from hospitals, the government had implemented Minimum Service Standard in 83 district hospitals and as it was effective in providing quality health service, we have implemented the standard in all the health centres across the country,” said Thapaliya.