KATHMANDU: Various significant improvement measures were taken in the health sector in the year 2073 BS (2016-17 AD).
With Health Minister Gagan Thapa taking the leadership of the Ministry around eight months ago, the public health issue, one after another, has received media coverage almost every day.
During the period, the Ministry has deployed doctors from permanent, temporary, contractual and scholarship category in 198 primary health facilities to provide health service from the nearest possible area. This was undertaken as per the campaign of the Ministry to reach out doctors to all primary health facilities.
Free distribution of general medicines including Cetamol in different districts on the directive of Minister Thapa received massive public attention. It was eased when Minister Thapa amended the related directive and introduced provision allowing the authority to every district health office can purchase drugs up to Rs 500,000 without any tender.
The directive was amended to address the problems of delay fund release and procurement process. The Minister and his team have engrossed their all-out efforts to bring about policy reforms and reach out health services to remote and far-flung areas.
However, the Ministry administration’s apathy to provide adequate support to advance the reforms agendas also came outside.
Minster Thapa recounted that the uncooperative gesture of health workers at National Polio Immunisation Programme as the bitter experience during his tenure in the ministry so far. Thapa has prioritised to decentralise the health services, renovate health facilities, improve health sector and manage the human resource for quality service.
The government has started liver transplant service in the country for the first time by introducing Human Organ Transplant Regulation this year. The regulation had also allowed removal of human organs from those died of brain haemorrhage and transplanting them to others. It has permitted the transplant of two kidneys, two lungs, pancreases, small intestine and an eye of the deceased to the needy people.
Likewise, the government has also made surgery of gout heart disease free which has also come into effect. Dialysis service for kidney patient is now free. It was already declared to provide kidney transplant service freely from Baisakh 1 (April 14). The government has allocated the budget of Rs 150 million in the current fiscal year for this.
Another important achievement of the Health Ministry was the Supreme Court’s verdict on surrogacy which allows the couple with infertility to use the services. Earlier, the government did not give it a legal status.
Among other important works of the Ministry include limiting treatment expenses to VIPs up to Rs 1.5 million, free treatment to newborn, open the Army Hospital for the general public, open all government hospitals from 9.00 am to 3.00 pm (intensive service from 3.00 pm to 5.00 pm) and directive to set up information centre at all hospitals.
The Ministry has claimed that the instruments, machinery and drugs along with doctors have been dispatched to all primary health facility.
Upholding the earlier government’s decision for all government hospitals to run a pharmacy on its own, the ministry had released seed money of Rs 3 million to central hospitals, Rs 2.5 million to regional hospitals, Rs 2 million to sub-regional hospitals, Rs 1.5 million to zonal hospitals and Rs 34.4 million to district hospitals.
Health Minster’s chief advisor Pratap Poudel shared that around 700 doctors were appointed on contract basis. The Ministry also claimed that the specialist doctors have been deployed from each primary health facility to district hospitals.
Memorandum of Understanding has been signed to initiate specialist service with emergency surgery in district hospitals in collaboration with the Academy and private medical colleges.
Several other important Acts and directives concerning public health have been prepared and are in the process of endorsement.
Minister Thapa expressed his confidence that strengthening of policy reforms and their implementation would help future generation to work effectively and efficiently in this sector.
The government is planning to mark the year 2074 BS as ‘My Health My Year’ to make citizens conscious of their health affairs.