Man interjects Health Minister to question fate of cost-free medicines in Mahottari

BARDIBAS: "We don't receive any medicines for free, doctors write it down on a piece of paper and we buy it outside."

This comment was made by a member of the general public attending an interaction programme at Bardibas Hospital on Monday.

He interjected to question the fate of government's cost-free provision when Minister for Health Giriraj Mani Pokharel was speaking of how the government had made medicines cost-free in state-owned health institutes across the country.

The person refused to be identified in front of the minister and high officials of the district, as he received the backing of unending applause from the participants.

"Yes, we are poor, we have naked feet, torn clothes over our body, but such people like us do not receive cost-free services," the person went on in the presence of Mahottari District Health Office Chief, Bardibas Hospital's Chief, doctors and other officials from the district's government health institutes.

Minister Pokharel responded by saying that he had received a report from the district showing 99 per cent of the health budget allocated for the district had been used up successfully.

"In the last fiscal year, I have understood that 99 per cent of the budget has been a success," Minister Pokharel said, adding "This must be monitored by a responsible official."

The Minister noted that health workers have a trend of getting affiliation with trade unions aligned to various political parties which he termed as constitutionally appropriate, but cautioned that they must focus more on providing health services to the people rather than focusing on such affiliations.

Minister Pokharel also vowed to issue a commitment letter within this week for upholding quality health services by discouraging the defects seen in the health sector.

"I will issue a commitment letter on the services to be provided by the ministry within this week," Minister Pokharel said, adding "As the efforts on part of all involved in the health sector can be used to fulfill the commitment of the ministry, everyone must focus on lending high priority to the services."