Patients flock to hospital, thanks to free treatment drive

Sankhuwasabha, Oct 29:

The number of patients in Sankhuwasabha District Hospital has increased remarkably after the government introduced a programme to provide free health services to patients.

Acting chief at the District Public Health Office (DPHO) Dr Rudra Prasad Marasini said that the number of patients in the district hospital has increased by almost 40 per cent after the government implemented the programme from last November.

“Going by the number of patients that received free treatment during the period, we can say that the programme has become effective here,” the DPHO said.

An all-party meeting held recently concluded that the programme was becoming effective in the district.

The hospital has introduced criteria to provide free treatment to patients. The patients meeting the crietria are provided with free health treatment in out patient department, indoor and emergency services. The DPHO has also arranged identity cards for them.

According to the DPHO, the medicine bill during the period amounted to nearly Rs 2 million.

At present, Sankhu-wasabha boasts of only two primary health centres, 25 sub-health posts and 11 health posts.

However, regional member of NGO Federation of Nepal Khadag Rai, said the DPHO needed to intensify publicity campaigns to make the free health services more effective in the days to come.

District member of CPN-UML Rishi Keshav Chapagain said many people from rural parts of the district were yet to benefit from the programme because of the lack of publicity.

The district hospitals in the country are by and large faced with acute shortage of doctors.

Hence, a majority of the patients rely on private hospitals for treatment, which are prohibitively expensive and often unaffordable for many rural folks. The campaign that worked wonders in Sankhuwasabha district needs to be replicated in other areas as well.

If the government can ensure free treatment for poor patients, many of them will not make a beeline for the capital, a time-consuming and expensive exercise. Taking a leaf from the Sankhuwasabha exercise, the government can launch a publicity drive for other areas as well.