Kathmandu, February 18
In clear display of government apathy, Nepali migrants who met with accidents that landed them in coma are yet to be brought home.
As per the Foreign Employment Promotion Board under the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security, 21 Nepalis are lying in coma and undergoing treatment in hospitals abroad.
Among them, 20 Nepalis were employed in Gulf Cooperation Council nations and one in South Korea.
According to the board, the number of Nepalis lying in coma is the highest in Qatar (11), followed by five in Saudi Arabia, three in Kuwait and one each in United Arab Emeritus and South Korea.
Rajan Prasad Shrestha, executive director of FEPB, said the board was planning to send a medical team to the said countries to collect information and explore the possibility of bringing them home. “Currently, the respective countries’ diplomatic missions are looking into the issue. We are in constant touch with them and plan to send a doctors’ team by March.”
Shrestha added that depending on the suggestion of the medical team and the decision of a special committee formed to look into the matter, the FEPB will make arrangements to bring patients — who can be safely evacuated — to Nepal for further treatment.
Informing that the board is also required to take consent from families of the patients, he said, “Some families are hesitant to bring them back due to the treatment cost.”
Meanwhile, Suman Ghimire, spokesperson for MoLESS, said the government was ‘concerned about the condition of comatose migrant workers’ and would support their treatment.
“We are working with the Ministry of Health and Population to ensure proper treatment of the comatose workers after they are brought back home. The government will provide them free medical treatment,” Ghimire added.
Owing to lack of proper safety measures at the workplace in the destination countries, a large number of Nepali migrant workers suffer serious injuries while working under challenging conditions.
“Workplace accidents and work-related diseases are quite common among migrant workers,” Shrestha admitted, adding that 477 Nepali migrant workers died due to accidents at workplaces and roads or succumbed to diseases last year.
While MoLESS has prepared a directive for evacuation of comatose migrant workers, it is yet to be implemented.
A version of this article appears in print on February 19, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.