Patients left in a lurch with arbitrary en masse transfer of health workers

Jajarkot, January 6

The haphazard transfer of health workers has left service seekers in the lurch in Jajarkot of late.

Health services in dozens of health posts in places like Punma, Archhani, Kaina, Bhagawati and Thalaraikar have been affected after the mid-western Regional Health Directorate of Pokhara opted to transfer a bulk of health workers in the district against the rule.

After the haphazard transfers, there is not a single health worker left to attend patients suffering from cough, common cold, fever and the likes in most of the health facilities.

“As there is no one in the health centres, basic services like vaccination for infants have been disrupted,” said Harichandra Basnet of Archhani.

It is learnt that most of the transfers were effected under political influence for kickbacks.

“The Health Service Act has clearly ruled out the transfer of any health worker before the completion of one year tenure, and it doesn’t entertain transfer of all the staff at one time at the cost of service delivery.

However in many places, health facilities have been left without a single health worker to attend to women in labour and other patients,” said Nepal Health Workers’ Association Chairperson Bishnu Jyoti.

Assistant Health Worker Surendra Puri of Punma Health Post, Assistant Nursing Midwife Tulasi Bohora of Primary Health Centre and Ranju Kumari Mehata of Dashera Health Post are a few who were transferred before their tenure got over.

Similarly, ANM Sangita Kumari Shah of Primary Health Centre, ANM Balmata Khadka of Bagawati Health Post and ANM Arati Kumari Yadav of Archhani Health Post, among many others, have been transferred from their work stations before completion of minimum tenure.

Interestingly, no one has been sent to attend the posts that have been rendered vacant after the transfers.

District Health Office Chief Dr Rajendra GC rued the unlawful transfers and expressed concern about the possibility of crisis that could surface in the absence of health workers in rural health facilities. “We were already facing a challenge meeting the needs of patients with many posts lying vacant for years.

The transfer of health workers en masse has dealt a blow to health facilities, especially in the backwaters where there is always risk of outbreak of some epidemic,” said Dr GC.

Khemraj Upadyaya, section officer at DHO, conceded that most of the transfers were carried out at the behest of various professional organisations. “A total of 180 health workers from the district have been transferred, and this happened under pressure from various health organisations owned by the employers,” he said.

Allegations have also been made against Dr Rajendra Prasad Panta, who is said to have carried out the transfers by receiving bribe money ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 100,000 from the concerned health workers wanting to go to better places.

Dr Panta allegedly went to the Capital after effecting the transfer of hundreds of health workers overnight.