Govt directed to ensure regular medical services to citizens

Kathmandu, June 6

The Women and Social Committee of the House of Representatives has directed the government to expedite efforts to ensure easy access to regular health services amid the lockdown.

It instructed the Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens and the Ministry of Health and Population to save the life of pregnant women, lactating mothers, persons injured in accidents, children and senior citizens, who have been badly affected by restrictions on regular health services at the hospitals and vehicular movement across the country.

“More number of pregnant women and other vulnerable persons are losing lives due to lack of access to regular medical care during the coronavirus-induced lockdown. Lockdown is a prerequisite to control and prevent the spread of COVID-19 but cannot be an excuse to deprive any citizen of regular health services,” read a press release issued by the parliamentary panel following yesterday’s meeting.

It warned that pregnant women, lactating women and infants were dying due to lack of prompt and adequate medical care. “Maternal mortality rate has significantly increased during the lockdown. Even patients suffering from other diseases have died as they did not get timely treatment. It is the duty of the state to save the lives of its citizens even during the adverse situation.

Therefore, this committee directs the MoHP to use all alternatives available to save the lives of vulnerable people. We also instruct the MoWCSC to coordinate with the MoHP to ensure that vulnerable people have easy access to medical care,” read the release.

People have been struggling to enjoy reproductive and non-COVID healthcare services.

Pregnant women from both rural and urban areas are facing the brunt of the lockdown.

Although the constitution has recognised reproductive health as a fundamental and essential service, women seeking safe motherhood are finding it hard to access such services during the lockdown. The ongoing lockdown coupled with disruption in the supply chain have also led to limited access to healthcare for women.

The parliamentary panel has also directed the MoHP and MoWCSC to effectively implement the President Women Uplift Programme and airlift pregnant women if they require immediate medical care.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on June 7, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.