Mustang District Hospital starts surgery services, 48 years after its establishmentConcerns, however, remain about the sustainability of the service as the hospital frequently reels under shortage of human resource.
A team led by Dr Kundan Karna, an MD General Practitioner, successfully conducted a C-section at the Mustang District Hospital on Wednesday marking the start of surgical services at the hospital, 48 years after its establishment.
Dr Bishal Tiwari, acting medical superintendent of the hospital, said the institution will now provide C-section and surgical services for hydrocele, appendicitis and other minor diseases.
The first ever surgery at the hospital was performed on Anita Pariyar, who is 24 and lives in Mustang’s Lete Kalopani, on Wednesday morning.
Manish Pariyar, Anita’s husband, said he was worried about safe delivery options for his pregnant wife. The Pariyar couple had been visiting the district hospital for regular check-ups for the past five months.
Manish was fretting over how he would take his wife to Pokhara given the irregularity in flights and poor road conditions in Mustang. Complicated and emergency cases at the hospital are usually referred to bigger and more resourceful hospitals in Pokhara, the provincial capital.
But the couple were assured by Dr Karna of safe delivery at the district hospital.
“We are fortunate to be the first service seekers of surgery at the facility,” Manish said.
Both the mother and the newborn are in normal health condition, according to the hospital administration.
Tiwari said the hospital had been taking initiatives for the past few years to start surgical service, with the federal government having released a Rs7.9 million budget in May. “We made all the necessary arrangements and procurement of tools and instruments within two months,” Tiwari said. “The service will continue in the hospital moving forward.”
Tiwari, however, expressed concern about the sustainability of the service since the hospital frequently reels under a lack of human resource as skilled medical professionals generally refuse postings to remote districts like Mustang.
“To continue service at the hospital, the provincial and federal governments should continue their support,” Tiwari said.
Established in 1974, the 25-bed hospital currently employs 27 health workers. Only 12 of them, however, are hired for permanent posts. At least five other staffers—including a consultant doctor, a gynaecologist or MDGP, an anaesthetic assistant and two trained nurses—will be required to continue the surgery service, according to Tiwari.
Karna and two other medical officers have been working at the hospital on a contract basis. Given that it is quite difficult to retain skilled human resources like Karna, all of the district’s five local units decided to provide an encouragement allowance to Karna some eight months ago. But the decision has not been implemented yet, according to the hospital.
Chandra Mohan Gauchan, a provincial assembly member representing Mustang, said the local units should immediately start providing the promised allowance to the MDGP. “All three levels of the government should take necessary initiatives to retain skilled human resources in remote districts like Mustang,” Gauchan said, “and to ensure that the surgical service runs smoothly.”