Medicine shortage hits eastern hills

Himalayan News Service

Biratnagar, February 24:

The routine vaccination programme has been badly affected in the eastern hilly and Himali districts after the drugs supply was cut following the disruption of transportation services for the last two weeks.

Head of the eastern regional department of drug administration, Biratnagar, Sangeeta Shah said the problem cropped up as the medicine could not be delivered to the hilly districts — Terhathum, Khotang, Taplejung, Okhaldhunga, Dhankuta, Sankhuwasabha, Bhojpur, Ilam, Phidim and Solukhumbu — on time. The stock of vaccines against polio, BCG, DPT, measles and hepatitis B has come near to an end, thereby affecting the regular vaccination programme, which is conducted in the first and last week of every month, Basanta Nepal, an officer of Panchthar district hospital, said. He said the stock of anti-rabies vaccine and other medical supplies too has finished.

Meanwhile, the health camp scheduled for Saturday by the health ministry in Terhathum is likely to be suspended as necessary medicine and equipment could not be delivered due to the Maoists’ transportation strike, said Narayan Khadka of the regional health directorate in Dhankuta.

Such health camps were being organised in Terhathum, Khotang, Taplejung and Okhaldhunga as annual events by the ministry.

The stock of life saving drugs has come to an end in Terhathum district hospital, head of the district health office in Terhathum and medical superintendent of the hospital, Dr Narendra Kumar Jha, said. Similar is the situation in Sankhusabha district hospital, said Dr Daya Shanker Karna, head of the hospital.

Director at the eastern regional health directorate in Dhankuta, Dr Shambhu Sharan Tiwari, said drugs supply in the hilly districts was on the decline. Head of the district health office in Dhankuta, Dr Narad Prasad Thapaliya, said many drugs are out of stock in the district.

Head of the regional medical store, Dhiranand Jha, said, “Medicines are ready for eight hilly and three Himali districts but could not be sent due to transportation strike. Medicines for the Terai districts, however, have already been dispatched. Meanwhile, eastern regional administrator Chhabi Raj Pant claimed medicine supply to the hilly districts has been started from today with army escort.