Medicine shortage hits health institutions in Bajura

BAJURA: The government run health centres in Bajura district have faced an acute shortage of medicines.

Medicine crunch has hit the health institutions as local bodies have not procured medicines despite release of budget.

The management of health institutions had come under purview of local bodies after the Ministry of Health issued a directive to all the district health offices to dispatch coordinators and sub-coordinators in all local levels within three days.

Although the district health offices followed the instructions, health professionals dispatched to the local levels have not undertaken their responsibilities adding up to the difficulties in health service delivery.

Meanwhile, the patients are purchasing medicines from private pharmacies due to lack of medicines in the health centres. Local Dhanamal Rokaya of Baudi, Himali Rural Municipality expressed his displeasure at the lack of medicines in health posts.

"Although the budget has been released to the local levels, the health service delivery and management of staffers are unorganised," Public Health Officer of Bajura, Ramesh Kunwar said.

Dr Satya Narayan Shahi at the Kolti Primary Health Centre said that the health institutions have been facing problems due to lack of medicines since mid-July as the government has not made medicines available. He said the health centres are running with some medicines provided by a non-government organisation, Phase Nepal.

"At least 100 patients visit Kolti-based Primary Health Centre for medical check-up on daily basis. Those patients visiting the health centres are compelled to buy medicines from private pharmacies," a health worker informed, "the private pharmacies in turn charge exorbitant prices on medicines, as a result, patients switch to herbal medicines."

The situation is no different in Baitadi District.

According to Chief of District Health Office, Baitadi, Guna Raj Awasthi, the Dasarathchand Municipality has turned a blind eye to the medicine shortage faced by the office despite acknowledging a 61-page-form submitted by the Office citing lack of medicines. “This has added up to the hassles in the treatment of patients,” Awasthi said.