Dhangadi, October 8
The dilemma seen at the local levels has led to the shortage of essential medicines at the health facilities in Province 7 for the last one month.
The province has been facing the shortage of essential drugs for more than a month now but no efforts have been made to supply medicines to the hospitals and the health facilities of the region.
After the establishment of local levels, the government assigned the responsibility of procuring and distributing medicines to local levels. However, confusion seen among the people’s representatives and government officials has led to medicine crunch of late.
Local levels and elected representatives are supposed to procure medicines but they are clueless about their duty and are complaining about the medicine crunch to the district and regional health directorate.
It is learnt that the government had granted the prerogative to local levels almost two months ago. Reluctance on the part of elected representatives to understand their duties, responsibility and rights has led to this situation.
The government has made such a provision that a local level can procure medicines worth Rs two million without issuing tender.
Doti District Public Health Office Chief Satish Bista said that his office could buy medicines worth Rs 0.5 million alone as per the new provision. “Health facilities are reeling under acute shortage of medicines. We shall start procuring medicines of Rs 0.5 million,” Bista said
Almost all health facilities are facing shortage of medicines in the region. Officer Keshav Bhattarai at Doti’s Badikedar Rural Municipality said that drug procurement was delayed as they were busy in village council meet and other works.
Most of the local levels in the hilly districts of Province 7 do not have government employees. Lack of staffers has also delayed the medicine procurement process.
Mohanyal Rural Municipality chair Nawalsingh Rawal in Kailali said that the rural municipality was without staffers. “It has failed to carry out even the daily work, let alone medicine procurement,” Rawal said.
Executive Officer Krishnaraj Gautam at Dhangadi Sub-metropolitan City said that he had started the process to procure medicines. “We have initiated the medicine procurement process keeping in view the possible medicine shortage at nine health facilities of the sub-metropolis,” Gautam said.
Local levels except Purchaudi Municipality, Melaumi Municipality, Dogadakedar Rural Municipality and Pancheswor Rural Municipality are yet to procure medicines. Those local levels which have purchased medicines are yet to start distribution.
Purchaudi Municipality health coordinator Binod Kumar Kuwar said that procured medicines would not last long as fund allocated for medicines was not adequate.
Health workers say that majority of the health facilities are facing an acute shortage of drugs in Baitadi. Ganjari Health Post in-charge Janak Singh Dhami said that patients had to return empty-handed for want of medicine. “The health post does not even have a cetamol,” Dhami added.
Regional Health Directorate Dipayal stated that health posts and health facilities in Bajura, Darchula, Achham, Bajhang were reeling under shortage of essential medicines.
“We are receiving the report that districts have run out of the essential medicines,” said Far-western health director Sushil Pyakurel. He also said that his office did not have prerogative to buy and distribute medicines.
Far-western Regional Medical Store Dhangadi Chief Narad Prasad Sahani said that his office was receiving demands of essential medicines from various districts of the region.
“We are supplying medicines in stock,” Sahani said. “The medical store is also running out of stock, and we are still clueless about who will supply medicines and how to procure medicines,” Sahani shared.
A version of this article appears in print on October 09, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.