Most zonal hospitals sans superintendents

Renu Kshetry

Kathmandu, July 22:

Patients have been devoid of quality health services due to a dearth of medical superintendents (MS) in most of the zonal hospitals in the country, an official at the Department of Health Services said. While officiating medical superintendents are at the helm in Dhangadi, Seti and Mahakali Zonal hospitals, a junior doctor is at the helm in the Biratnagar

-based Zonal Hospital, the official said, adding that a medical surgeon, a radiologist and a paediatrician were working as medical superintendents in the Janakpur zonal Hospital, the Pokhara Zonal Hospital and the Nepalgunj zonal Hospital.

The MS of Sagarmatha and Nepalgunj Zonal Hospitals are retiring this month. “A medical superintendent must be an expert since he has to shoulder all the responsibilities of a hospital,” the official said. Dr Harinath Acharya, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), told this daily that the lack of medical superintendents was causing a problem. “The Health Ministry will fill the vacancies once the Public Service Commission starts promoting doctors.” Most of the doctors do not want to go to remote areas. Though the government had made an announcement that 25 doctors will be sent to 25 remote districts for a year and given a monthly salary of Rs 25,000, only 10 doctors applied for the jobs. Out of them, only three doctors agreed to go to the districts. “We can’t force them to go to the remote areas,” said Dr Acharya, adding: “The Health Ministry will re-advertise for the

‘interested’ doctors to send them to 25 districts having low Human Development Index (HDI) as most of the doctors under the MoHP are on study leave and do not want to go to the remote districts.”