Bajura's Gaumul Rural Municipality has been providing health services to the residents here by setting up its own hospital. According to rural municipality Chair Hari Bahadur Rokaya, the hospital started providing services three months ago.

"The hospital was brought into operation by hiring necessary manpower, including a medical officer," said Rokaya, adding that services at the hospital had become popular among locals. Gaumul is one of the remote local levels in the district.

The hospital set up in Ghatmuna provides different services, including OPD, lab and x-ray. Dr Rupesh Bati said every day over 35 patients visit the hospital. "Most of those who approach us suffer from asthma, rheumatism and cough," said Bati.

Staff Nurse Sapana Joshi informed that the hospital was also providing health counselling to patients apart from regular treatment.

"While talking about women, they often hesitate to share their health issues, but what I've observed here is that they are slowly opening up. These days more women share with us the problems they have been living with for years, and we provide them the required treatment and advice," said Joshi.

Dal Nepali, a local, was all praise for the local level's initiative.

"Earlier, people here had to travel far even for basic health services; now that there is a doctor in our village and treatment has become easy," he said. Rural Municipality Deputy Chair Sita Thapa said anyone looking for treatment in the outpatient department of the hospital can get free ticket. Similarly, patients can get up to 110 types of drugs free of cost at the hospital.

"Though the government seems to be abandoning its policy of free drugs, we in the local level have decided to provide a number of drugs free keeping in view the poor economic condition of most people here," said the RM's Chief Administrative Officer Jagadish Prasad Bhatta.

A version of this article appears in the print on March 30, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.