Donor driven healthcare ignoring most patients: MoH panel

Kathmandu, January 24

The government is more concerned about donor-aided programmes than the ones that can benefit a large number of patients, states a report submitted by a committee formed by the Ministry of Health.

The report adds that the ministry has been ignoring the rights of people to get basic health care services and it has been spending money on the programmes advocated by donor agencies.

It states that several hospitals across the country lack caesarean section service that is crucial for saving lives of pregnant women and newborn babies but almost all hospitals have anti-retroviral treatment facility and CD-4 count service (both useful for HIV infected patients), the report stated.

According to the report,  some zonal and sub-regional hospitals do not have electrocardiogram machine or cardiac marker, which are used for diagnosis of patients  of chest pain and cardiac arrest and are helpful while conducting  appendicitis operation  but they  have acquired facilities that are useful for HIV/AIDS patients, in line with donor driven agenda.

Hospitals across the country also lack doctors and other trained human resources but the MoH has provided sufficient number of human resources for one-stop crisis management centres for  women where hardly 10 service seekers pay a visit in a month, according to the report.

“It appears that the MoH has been paying more attention to donor driven agenda,” the report states, adding that improvement of livelihood and increase in the purchasing capacity of people are a pre-requisite for improving overall health indicators.

The report is also critical of the government policy of reimbursing the cost borne by private hospitals for providing services to kidney patients, cancer patients and those seeking uterus prolapse treatment.

“Instead of strengthening government health facilities, the MoH has opted to reimburse the cost of treatment provided by private hospitals,” reads the report.

“There is a risk of misuse of government fund without having a reliable mechanism to regulate the reimbursement.”

The report urges the government to pay attention to the rise of non-communicable diseases in hospitals across the country, which account for 60 per cent patients.

The 19-page report submitted to the MoH also highlights several anomalies in the health sector and flaws in government policies.

Health Secretary Senendra Raj Upreti said government’s health programmes were not donor driven but donor supported. “There are a lot of things for the government to improve,” he added.

The MoH had formed a six-member committee comprising Dr Anil Acharya, Dr Subash Acharya, Dr Amod Acharya, Dr Bhabanath Khatiwada and Dr Ramesh Koirala to prepare a report on the efficacy of health care services provided by government health centres.