Neglect, not benign

What good are hospitals without doctors? But many public hospitals in the Valley are reeling under an acute shortage of medical practitioners. The Bhaktapur Hospital seems to be the worst hit by this crisis. Reportedly, there are only three

doctors in the emergency ward of Bhaktapur Hospital, and the anaesthesia and surgical units have no doctors at all. How ironic and pathetic can a situation get than this? Some 40 patients on an average report to the hospital every day, but most of them get no attention for want of doctors. Most of the time, those few doctors on payroll too are either on study leave or just stay away from work. To add insult to injury, the Ministry of Health appears not at all serious in filling the vacant posts.

The Ministry simply cannot ignore such a crisis any longer. The delay in filling up the vacancies clearly illustrates the fact that the authorities are not taking their responsibility seriously enough. Time and again when the problem is highlighted, the Ministry routinely says ‘homework’ is on to appoint the doctors as soon as possible. But nothing gets done, and the hospitals and the patients continue to suffer. If this is the state of government hospitals in the Kathmandu Valley, one can imagine the situation in the hospitals and health posts in the districts, especially in the remote parts of the country. Sadly as the shortage of medical practitioners, supply and attendants continues to severely affect medical treatment and health of the general people, something substantial cannot be left undone — for any length of time.