Ministry of Finance says it can’t allocate extra budget for health ministry

Kathmandu, January 22

The Ministry of Finance said  it would not be able to release money to the Ministry of Health to provide Rs 5,000 monthly welfare allowance to patients of kidney failure, cancer and spinal injury.

“The demand for the money came all of a sudden. This was not included in the budget of this fiscal. We release money as per the budget. We can’t go beyond the national budget to release money as demanded by the Ministry of Health. We allocate budget depending on priority basis and purse. Therefore, we won’t be able to allocate extra budget for the MoH,” said Arjun Prasad Pokharel, spokesperson of the Ministry of Finance.

The ministry of health has demanded Rs 20 crore from the finance ministry after the Cabinet’s decision to provide Rs 5,000 as monthly welfare allowance to patients of kidney failure, cancer and spinal injury. “We have asked the finance ministry to allocate Rs 20 crore so that we could provide it to the patients,” said Professor Shree Krishna Giri, spokesperson at the MoH.

The Cabinet meeting on December 28 had decided to provide financial assistance to those in need of free dialysis service, cancer treatment and treatment for paralysis due to spinal injury after MoH on December 15 submitted a proposal for providing financial assistance to patients.

In the fiscal 2016-17, a total of 4,271 people received haemodylasis service, 142 kidney transplants have been performed and 198 patients are under medication after kidney transplant. As many as 8,643 patients have received assistance for cancer treatment in the fiscal, according to the health ministry.

Poverty Stricken Citizens Fund was established after the second people’s movement to provide financial assistance to patients suffering from life-threatening diseases who could not afford to pay for health services.

Cardiovascular diseases, cancer, renal failure, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, head and spinal injury, sickle cell anaemia and stroke are covered under this programme. A total of 17,471 new and old patients have taken financial assistance for treatment of these diseases, as per MoH.