Incredible index

A remote sub-health post located in the Bethan VDC of Ramechhap district presents a pathetic scenario because for the past two months it has run out of such minor but essential drugs like Cetamol and Amjit. Such a situation occurred after the stock of medicines sent by district headquarters Manthali a year ago was exhausted. Though the district headquarters are supposed to dispatch medicines to the respective health posts twice a year, the security problems caused by the Maoist conflict is creating hurdles in the transportation of medicines. Bethan’s dismal condition cannot be dismissed as an isolated case. If an on-the-spot inspection were to be conducted many health posts and sub-health posts, especially in the remote hilly and alpine regions, would be found to be virtually run out of essential drugs like Jeevan Jal or Paracetamol. Moreover, the medical as well as para-medical staff would not be found in their seats and would perhaps be on some type of leave, training, or on ‘official tours’. One is bound to find either the peon or some other low-rung employee conducting check-ups and offering advice to patients.

This situation existed even before the insurgency started 10 years ago. With the difficulties posed by the conflict, the situation has become worse. The Maoists have sometimes looted the vehicles carrying medicines or even torched ambulances. Though this is an inhuman act, the indifference on the part of the government authorities cannot be condoned, too. The district public health officials, for example, should regularly monitor and ensure a steady supply of essential drugs to the various health and sub-health posts. The present government, which took up the cudgels of good governance when it took over power, should not shy away from fulfilling its commitment. Health service is one of the most basic needs of the public. Hospitals and health posts would lose much of their relevance when they are without essential drugs and medical staff.