Health facilities in Province 7 understaffedThe government has created 74 posts for medical specialists in Province 7, but has managed to fill only 12 of these posts.
The government has created 74 posts for medical specialists in Province 7, but has managed to fill only 12 of these posts.
There are no specialist doctors in seven Hill districts of the province. The patients who need special attention are compelled to visit Mahakali Zonal Hospital, Seti Zonal Hospital or the Regional Health Directorate to meet specialist doctors.
The province with the population of 2.8 million also lacks doctors. For instance, there are only 41 doctors in the entire province, though the government has allocated 71 seats for the position. The province is also in severe shortages of nursing staff and assistant health workers.
According to the data of the Province Health Directorate, the government-run health facilities in the nine districts of the province has 12 specialist doctors and 41 doctors.
Seti Zonal Hospital in Dhangadhi receives up to 300 new patients daily. The facility has only 14 doctors. The hospital administration said 21 positions for doctors were vacant for a long time, and the authorities concerned had not taken any steps to fill the vacancies.
Things are no different at the Mahakali Zonal Hospital in Kanchanpur district. The hospital is making do with five doctors. The hospital has 18 positions for specialist doctors, but only has one.
Likewise, there are no specialist doctors at Dadeldhura Sub Regional Hospital, and 10 of the 14 positions for doctors are vacant.
Hemraj Khadka, information officer at the Ministry of Social Development, said public health care service in Province 7 was in a dismal state due to shortages of health professionals.
Even major health facilities are struggling to provide effective health care, thus forcing the people to either visit private hospitals or go outside their districts in times of sickness, he added.
Though the government has set an ambitious plan of establishing hosptials in all local units, it has failed to even open hospitals in all districts of Province 7. There are only six district hospitals in the province of nine districts.
Dr Gunaraj Awasthi, health director of the province, said the health care service in the province had been left in a disarray after the government restructured the health facilities under the federal set-up.
Besides the shortages of health professionals, the province is also reeling under a shortage of essential medicines. Medicines and general healthcare supplies are stuck at the warehouse in Dhangadhi for the last four months, as the federal units are unsure how to transport the medicines.
Earlier, the District Health Offices were responsible for supplying medicines to local health facilities, but that responsibility was shifted to the local units after the federal set-up came into force.
Health officials say several health facilities, particularly in remote areas, are facing medicine shortage as the local units failed to invite tender for transportation in time.