Minister urges workers to lift obstructions at health facilities

KATHMANDU: Health Minister Gagan Thapa on Friday appealed to the health professionals to run the health institutions without any obstruction.

Issuing a statement today, the Minister expressed his concerns towards the strike of health workers demanding implementation of the provision of "special ranking" as mentioned in Section 9B of the Health Service Act, 1997.

Putting forth the single demand, health workers in various districts of the nation have been staging protests at health facilities and District Public Health Offices for nearly a couple of months.

While the provision was not implemented for years, Thapa claimed he had been making efforts to solve the issue since he assumed the office in August last year.

The Ministry already received an approval from the Cabinet to amend the Act in order to solve other issues of the health workers related to job security and the works had already begun to draft the amendment, Thapa assured.

The Minister also promised to table the amendment at the Parliament within next three months.

Thapa said he was surprised to know that the health workers were planning to obstruct the polio vaccination campaign scheduled for Saturday and  Sunday as such obstruction would apparently deprive children of their right to health.

The Minister warned that the government could take any kind of action to lift the obstructions if the workers did not open the padlocks and run the facilities smoothly as it was a "duty of the Ministry to operate the health facilities uninterruptedly."

Meanwhile, the Ministry wrote to the Ministry of Home Affairs today itself asking security to run services from the strike-hit facilities.

Earlier, the vaccination drive was halted in 12 Tarai districts and three districts of Kathmandu Valley owing to the staff strike.

The Ministry, then, had postponed the campaign for tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.