Free health service fails to benefit poor people

Kathmandu, November 25

The Government of Nepal provides free health services to the poor and marginalised people of the country on the basis the identity cards. However, haphazard distribution of these cards have deprived them of the facility.

According to Ram Raja Panthi, the deputy health administrator at Management Division of Department of Health Service, people from the districts, which are below the Human Development Index, are eligible to get Impoverished Citizen Treatment Fund provided by the government, but due to lack of proper policy to identify the poor and impoverished people, people from well-to-do families are taking advantage of this facility.  He also said that 50 per cent poor and marginalised people did not even know about this facility.

“Due to haphazard distribution of identity cards which recognised a citizen as impoverished and poor, treatment fund is not reaching to the real poor people,” said Panthi.

Management Division provides free treatment and medication to impoverished patients through Impoverished Citizen Treatment Fund only for the eight listed diseases. Treatment of kidney, cancer, heart, head and spinal injuries, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson, sickle-cell, anemia is provided free of cost at hospitals designated by the government.

Since July 2017, 22,389 patients have taken this facility from different hospitals. “To get this facility, one should get recommendation letter from the concerned rural municipality or municipality,” informed Panthi.

“A lot of people have been getting free treatment on the basis of forged recommendation letters. We can’t say anything as they get recommendation letters issued by authorities concerned,” he added.