Mechanism to curb medical trips abroad on cards: Minister ThapaNewly appointed Health Minister Gagan Thapa has said he is working to develop a mechanism for curbing foreign visits of political leaders for medical treatment.
Newly appointed Health Minister Gagan Thapa has said he is working to develop a mechanism for curbing foreign visits of political leaders for medical treatment.
In his first media briefing after assuming office on Thursday, Thapa said politicians have been misusing their authority while seeking medical care in foreign countries.
“Personally, I am against such practice. We in the ministry are working to curb such practices,” said Thapa. One of the considerations was holding the Medical Board,
which refers patients for treatment in a foreign hospital, accountable.
“If the board refers a patient to a foreign country and if it is found later that the cure is available in Nepal, the board will be held responsible,” said Thapa. “This will make them more cautious while taking decisions.”
The Medical Board is chaired by the director of Bir Hospital, with the heads of Surgery Department and Medicine Department of the hospital as its members.
The issue of foreign visits for treatment came to the fore again after a Cabinet meeting provided at least Rs6 million to former president Ram Baran Yadav for his treatment in the United States. The government for years has been doling out millions of rupees to politicians, particularly for the treatment of even the
diseases that are curable in the country.
The late prime minister Sushil Koirala tops the list of recipients of state funds for treatment with a Rs19,181,373 cheque during his tenure while former PM and CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli has got Rs12,635,137 for medical care.
According to Minister Thapa, process has begun to station doctors in all the Primary Health Care Centres in line with the commitment of PM Pushpa Kamal Dahal. Doctors would be appointed soon to 23 PHCCs.
Thapa also pledged to replenish all the health centres with drugs as soon as possible while the stalled medicine procurement process would resume.
On the demands of Dr Govinda KC, who has staged several hunger strikes pressing for reforms in medical education, Minister Thapa said meetings with the Manmohan Memorial Institute of Health Sciences in question have begun for its takeover.