Government increases budget for the health sector to Rs90.69 billionHealth insurance to be provided to all citizens in three years and 40 percent of the population to be brought under the scheme next year, finance minister says.
The government has raised the budget for the health sector to Rs 90.69 billion for the fiscal year 2020-21 in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Presenting the budget for the fiscal year 2020-21, Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada said high priority will be given to prevention and control of coronavirus pandemic and infectious diseases.
Khatiwada said that the government has allocated Rs 6 billion for medicines and equipment as well as treatment to control the spread of Covid-19.
“Focus will also be on expanding tests in high-risk areas to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus,” said Khatiwda.
An increase in the budget for the health sector was largely expected given the spread of the virus, which has claimed five lives and infected over 1,000 in the country.
The budget for the health sector last year was Rs 68.78 billion.
Khatiwada also said that the government has allocated a budget for building 200 hospitals with 5 to 15 beds at all local levels.
“Health insurance will be provided to all citizens in three years and 40 percent of the population will be brought under insurance next year,” said Khatiwada. “Rs7.5 billion has been allocated for this programme.”
Similarly, the government has also doubled the allowance for women health workers.
Khatiwada said arrangements have been made to provide incentives and allowances to the doctors involved in the treatment of Covid-19 and those working in the laboratories.
He also announced free health insurance up to Rs500,000 for the health workers involved in the treatment of Covid-19 and other infectious diseases.
“Budget has been also allocated for the construction of a 300-bed communicable disease hospital in the Kathmandu valley,” said Khatiwada. “Similarly, 250-bed ICU hospitals and 50-bed communicable disease hospitals will be operated in all provincial capitals.”
According to Khatiwada, Gandaki of Pokhara, Koshi Hospital of Biratnagar, Bheri Hospital of Nepalgunj, Surkhet Hospital of Surkhet and Seti Hospital of Kailali will be converted into hospitals with specialty services.