Health centres in Salyan without doctorsThe residents of Bagchaur Municipality and Chhatreswori Rural Municipality are forced to visit private clinics since the primary health centres in the local units don’t have doctors or medicines.
It’s been 14 years since two primary health centres were established in Bagchaur Municipality and Chhatreswori Rural Municipality of Salyan but health services in both these institutions are poor for a lack of qualified health workers.
Tharmare in Bagchaur and Lekhpokhara in Chhatreswori are rural settlements, where medical doctors are far and few between. In more than a decade of their establishment, the health centres have been run by assistant health workers only.
According to health workers, there are several vacant posts of doctors in both the health centres as the assigned doctors are always seeking a transfer to take their practice to urban locations or for further education.
The absence of doctors has deprived the residents of both settlements of timely medical treatment, says Kalpana BK from Bafukhola.
“The doctors are never present in both these health centres so we have to visit private clinics for all medical issues,” said BK. “The health assistants examine the patients and ask them to go to private clinics to buy medicines since the health centres do not have any essential medicine.”
The last doctor who was at Bagchaur health centre left the post nine months ago while the Chhatreswori health centre has been without a doctor for three years after the last doctor went on his study leave.
The health centre in Bagchaur caters to the residents of Bafukhola, Kotbed, Tharmare, Shivarath, Kotbara, Kotmaula and Pipalneta of the local unit. But patients are forced to go to private clinics to seek treatment since the health centre does not have a doctor.
Dev Bahadur Khatri from Kotbed says the health centre does not provide any service to the locals since it neither has doctors nor essential medicines.
Nirmala Budha, a resident of Lekhpokhara in Chhatreswori, says she has stopped going to the primary health centre in her local unit and visits private clinics even for minor illnesses.
“I have to walk for 45 minutes to reach the nearest private clinic and spend thousands of rupees when I could have gotten free treatment and medicine from the primary health centre,” said Budha. “The health centre has been of no use to the local residents.”
“We opt for home remedies for minor illnesses and are forced to visit private clinics for major ailments,” said Bal Bahadur Pun, a resident of Lekhpokhara. “The health centre has not even installed an X-Ray machine so we have to go elsewhere to get an X-Ray done.”
The health centre in Bagchaur has nine vacant posts for health staff, including doctors, according to in-charge of the health centre Bupendra Kumar Oli.
“The absence of doctors has affected the operation of the health centre. We are unable to take on patients with major illnesses so we refer them to the district hospital or private clinics,” he said. “We have asked the authority to send a doctor to the health centre but there has been no response.”
Health authorities at both the provincial and federal levels are yet to respond to frequent requests for doctors, says Ward Chairman of Chhatreswari-4 Liladhar Gharti, who is also the chairman of the Primary Health Centre Management Committee.
“It’s a shame that patients have to return home without getting treatment at the health centre,” said Gharti. “The authorities have not responded to our requests for doctors.”