Primary health centre in Salyan of little useLack of trained human resources and absence of proper medical equipment have rendered the health centre at Chhatreshwori Rural Municipality useless, local residents say.
The primary health centre in Lekhpokhara of Chhatreswhori Rural Municipality was established some 15 years ago to provide quality health services to the residents of Lekhpokhara, Jhimpe, Syanikhal, Dahakhola and Lanti, among other surrounding settlements. But the health centre has been of little help to the local residents for a lack of trained human resources and proper medical equipment at the health centre.
The residents of Chhatreshwori Rural Municipality Ward No. 5 in Salyan have to visit the District Hospital in Khalanga or private hospitals in neighbouring towns to get basic medical services despite having an established primary health centre at the local unit.
“Treatment expenses rise significantly when one has to visit health institutions in other towns,” said Nandaram Pun, a resident of Chhatreshwori Rural Municipality Ward No. 5.
Although the primary health centre in Lekhpokhara installed an X-ray machine four years ago, the machine remains unused due to a lack of human resources and other additional equipment.
“Getting an X-ray costs around Rs 200 but the travel expenses add up to Rs 2,000. Especially pregnant women, children and senior citizens have been hugely affected by the lack of proper medical services at the primary health centre,” Pun said.
The monsoon season brings additional problems with vehicular movement obstructed along most rural roads due to landslides.
“Vehicular movement along several rural roads comes to a halt during monsoon. There’s no other option than to walk for hours to reach the district headquarters to receive health services,” said Purna Bahadur Gharti, a resident of Lekhpokhara in ward 5. “Able-bodied villagers can make the journey, but when our elders and children fall ill, we don’t have much choice but to carry them on our backs.”
Pun of Chhatreshwori complained that patients have to be carried on stretchers to the district headquarters, as rural roads have been obstructed by multiple landslides.
“We can’t receive proper diagnosis in the primary health centre. That’s why even patients with minor illnesses have to be taken to Khalanga or Shreenagar for treatment,” said Pun.
Local residents also complain of the absence of health workers at the health centre.
“Most days, the health centre is unmanned. Not every villager can afford to seek treatment outside the rural municipality. They end up relying on traditional healing,” said Jhupa Khatri, a local health volunteer.
Bir Bahadur Oli, the senior Auxiliary Health Worker at the centre, admits that the facility lacks trained human resources and other necessary medical tools to operate its X-ray machine.
“The federal health ministry provided the X-ray machine in 2017. We asked the rural municipality to release a budget for the hiring of technicians but they paid no heed to us,” Oli said.