Tug of war

Bullying among contractors has left the Koshi Zonal Hospital in dire need of basic medical equipment indispensable to the treatment of patients. Though the Ministry of Health allocated ten million rupees for the purchase of medical equipment last fiscal year, the hospital has only been able to purchase equipment worth six million rupees. With contractors battling to clinch the contract using forceful means if not by bribing the authorities, the hospital is finding it difficult to ensure and deliver effective health service. Moreover, due to unsatisfactory law and order situation, the contractors are learnt to brazenly use money and muscle power to vie for government contracts across the country.

The government authorities are required by law to call for bids for the construction and purchase of materials and award the contract to those who quote the lowest amount. As a result of the persisting tug of war among contractors, some hospitals are reported to be without basic medical equipment such as ENT microscope, blood test analyser, OT ventilator, X-ray, MRI machine, and CT scan machine. Taking advantage of the situation, doctors,especially those in government hospitals too, are reportedly known to have asked patients to visit their own private clinics for medical tests of complicated nature. This practice must end. The government must also not spare unscrupulous contractors who obstruct delivery of essential services for their own benefit.