Mugu District Hospital out of medicinesWith the change in seasons, the hospital is seeing an increasing number of patients daily but has not been able to provide effective services due to a lack of essential medicines and specialist doctors.
Jana Devi Aide, a resident of Kalai in Soru Rural Municipality-9, is undergoing treatment for typhoid fever at the District Hospital in Mugu. She hasn’t been able to achieve full recovery given that the hospital does not have the necessary medicines to treat her.
“The hospital does not even have paracetamol. They ask us to bring syringes and medicines from the pharmacy outside the hospital,” she said. “The doctor comes for his round and then my attendant has to go and buy medicines from the pharmacy. This has not only affected my recovery but also my finances.”
The government has provisioned free medicines for patients in all government health institutions. But those visiting the 15-bed District Hospital in Mugu have to purchase medicines from private pharmacies since the hospital has run out of essential drugs.
With the change in seasons, the number of patients in the district hospital in Mugu is increasing but the hospital has not been able to provide effective services for a lack of essential medicines.
According to the hospital, at least 45 patients of typhoid, fever, diarrhoea and pneumonia have been admitted to the hospital in the past week. A total of 121 patients were admitted to the hospital from mid-March to mid-April.
Dr Nahkul Shahi at the hospital said that all 15 beds in the hospital are occupied at present.
“Around 75 percent of the patients are suffering from diarrhoea,” he said. “If the number keeps on increasing, we would have to make arrangements for extra mattresses to be laid out in the wards.”
According to him, at least 10 new patients come to the hospital daily seeking treatment for seasonal illnesses.
Manisha Rawal, a health assistant at the hospital, says health workers are also at their wit’s end given the increase in the number of patients amid the shortage of medicines.
“The hospital receives hundreds of patients every day. All the general and emergency beds are fully occupied. We have no supply of drugs, including cetamol, aspirin, adrenaline, albendazole, tinidazole, vitamins and zinc sulphate, among others,” she said.
“The district health office has allocated a budget of Rs1.8 million to the hospital to purchase medicine but no medicine has been purchased so far. Surgical services in the hospital have also been halted due to a lack of specialist doctors,” said Rawal. Patients undergoing treatment at the hospital are being referred to the Karnali Institute of Health Sciences, Jumla for general and special surgery due to a lack of specialist doctors.
The lack of medicines coupled with the absence of specialist doctors at the hospital has added extra financial burden on the patients, says Umesh Gautam, health service manager at the hospital.
“At least five patients are being referred to Jumla in a week. It takes at least 12 hours to reach Jumla by ambulance,” he said. “The relatives of some patients have been flying their loved ones to Nepalgunj and Surkhet. The airfare from Rara to Nepalgunj and Surkhet is Rs 8,500. Not everybody can afford to pay such high prices.”
According to him, the delay in the tender process to procure medicines has led to a further delay in the supply of essential medicines to the district hospital.
The Ministry of Health and Population provides more than 70 different types of medicines for communicable and non-communicable diseases to district hospitals that have at least 25 beds. Patients are entitled to receive more than 60 essential medicines at primary health centres and 35 types of medicines at health posts free of cost.