The only primary health centre in Jumla without doctor for four yearsThe health centre also does not have essential medicines and medical equipment to qualify as a dedicated treatment centre, local residents say.
Kalikakhetu Primary Health Centre in Hima Rural Municipality Ward No 5, Jumla, has been without a medical doctor for the past four years.
The authorities concerned have failed to deploy doctors at the only primary health centre in the district. The absence of a medical doctor has deprived the local people of quality health services.
“The villagers do not have access to health services, as the primary health centre has not had a doctor for the past four years. Patients of even minor ailments have to visit Karnali Academy of Health Sciences in Khalanga for treatment,” said Kamal KC, a local man.
The health centre has been without a medical officer since the doctor posted there went on a study leave four years ago.
The health centre administration said that the provincial government has not deployed medical officers even after repeated requests.
“We have urged the authorities time and again to provide a doctor but there has been no response. It would save the local people a lot of trouble if we had a doctor here,” said Gobinda Bhandari, the in-charge of Kalikakhetu Primary Health Centre. “We have no option but to send patients to Khalanga, even for minor ailments.”
Krishna Adhikari, a resident of Hima Rural Municipality, says the local people have to walk for a day to reach Khalanga to seek treatment.
“There’s no transport service here. So the patients themselves have to walk to Khalanga or have to be carried there,” he said.
The health centre also does not have essential medicines and medical equipment to qualify as a dedicated treatment centre, say local residents.
“Our primary health centre was a model one when there was a doctor. We used to go to Khalanga only for surgeries and major illnesses. But now, in the absence of a doctor, the health centre does not serve its purpose,” Adhikari said.
Bhandari, the in-charge of the health centre, says providing health services has been difficult in the absence of a doctor.
“Our 24-hour emergency service has also become useless, as there’s no doctor here to prescribe medicines,” he said.
According to the Ministry of Health and Population, more than 70 different types of medicines for communicable and non-communicable diseases are being supplied to all district hospitals with at least 25 beds.
Patients get more than 60 types of essential medicines at primary healthcare centres and 35 types of drugs at health posts.
“Medicines were available at the primary health centre when the doctor was here. But these days, the health centre does not have essential medicines,” said Bhandari.
Raj Bahadur Shahi, chairman of Hima Rural Municipality, said the local unit’s requests for a doctor during the pandemic also went unheard. “The government did not send us a doctor even when the pandemic was raging across rural villages,” Shahi said.