Health budget not enough, says minister Pokhrel

Hetauda, July 13:

Minister for Health and Population Giriraj Mani Pokhrel told reporters here today that the budget allocated for the Health Ministry is not enough.

The health minister arrived here today to attend an interaction programme of health officials and workers of the central development zone. Pokhrel said he had sought a 15 per cent increase in the budget compared to the allocation made last year, but only a seven per cent increase was effected.

He added that in contrast to the World Health Organisation’s standard of $33 annual expenditure on a person’s health, the government was spending only $5. “Over 1,000 health posts, several district hospitals and hospitals are yet to be constructed in three zones of the country,” he said.

Saying that the king was already in a state of suspension, Pokhrel voiced his objection to allotting a separate budget for the king and the rest of the royal household. Saying that a separate allocation for the king and other royals was not required, he decried the government move to “bolster the king with money via three different heads from different ministries”.

Flaying the eight parties for their lack of unity, he said, “These parties have been entrusted with the task of running the country, reducing conflict in the Tarai and holding the constituent assembly (CA) polls. It is unfortunate that instead of holding talks with dissatisfied groups, curbing tension and restoring peace in the country, they are bickering among themselves.”

He accused the eight parties of “running the show in a hackneyed manner”. “One major party is calling the shots and the other parties, who are also part of the government, are beginning to feel left out,” he said.