NPHL facing human resource crunch

Kathmandu, February 25

National Public Health Laboratory has been struggling to provide test reports on time due to lack of adequate human resources.

NHPL, which provides emergency reports on laboratory tests to government laboratories across the country, has been providing reports late these days.

According to Director at NPHL Dr Harish Chandra Upreti, a report which normally is provided in three days is taking nearly a week due to lack of adequate human resource.

Every day nearly 1,000 people visit NPHL to avail laboratory services. There are 14 posts vacant at NPHL, which include pathologist, medical technologist and micro-biologist, among others. “Two out of five pathologists, two medical technologists of 9th and 10th level, three medical technologists of 7th and 8th level, seven micro-biologists need to be recruited,” Dr Upreti said. According to Upreti, NPHL has only 64 work personnel against the organisation’s need of 84. Even among the 64, 14 lab technicians need to be recruited.

Dr Upreti added the government had added services of diagnosing emerging diseases for emergency periods, but without preparing adequate human resources for it. “For diagnosis of new and emerging diseases, a lab had been established in 2016.” But NPHL is not fully prepared to start diagnosing emerging diseases due to lack of adequate human resource, he added. NPHL requires eight personnel, four of them with master’s degree in micro-biology and the rest as supporting staff for smooth operation of the lab.

“We had requested necessary human resource to the Ministry of Health and Population on August 23 and the ministry replied that it will provide the required skilled human resource after conducting organisational and management survey,” said Dr Upreti. He said NHPL could not recruit or appoint staff as only the Public Service Commission had authority to do so for government organisations.

At the request of NHPL, World Health Organisation has also supported with its human resource. “There are seven post for experts from WHO, of which two posts were vacant. We have also requested WHO to provide staffers,” Dr Upreti shared.