Shortage of essential medicines looms over Province 1 districtsShortage of essential medicines is looming large over many districts in Province 1, owing to the delay in procurement process.
Shortage of essential medicines is looming large over many districts in Province 1, owing to the delay in procurement process.
Following the elections of local representatives, the local units—municipalities and rural municipalities— have now the responsibility of supplying free-of-cost essential medicines that the district health authority used to provide to the public through various government-run health facilities earlier.
It has been nearly six months since the districts in Province 1 elected their local representatives on June 28, but they have done little to prevent imminent shortage of essential drugs.
The districts of Morang, Sunsari, Bhojpur and Sankhuwasabha are already falling short on many essential medicines as the concerned local bodies have not initiated the procurement process. Many patients complained that they are compelled to buy free-of-cost medicines at private pharmacies because they are not available at government health facilities in their areas.
In Morang, all 17 local units have yet to begin the medicine procurement process. As a result, most health institutions in the district are reeling under shortage of medicines. Kunjilal Majhi, the officer in-charge at a health post in Dhanpalthan Rural Municipality, said the local unit has not responded to their repeated requests to supply the medicines.
“Out of 45 types of essential medicines that we provide from the health post for free, we only have around 20 of them in stock at the moment. We have to turn many of our patients back because of the situation,” said Majhi.
Chandra Dev Mehata, the chief of Morang District Public Health Office, said that the office is no longer responsible for supplying medicines to the government health facilities with the local units in place.
“The budget for purchasing medicines is directly allocated to the local units, who have apparently failed to procure and supply essential medicines so far,” he said.
The situation is identical in the hill districts of Sankhuwasabha, where all 10 local units have failed to fulfil the medicine requirements of health facilities.
Thudok Bhote, a resident of Bhotkhola Rural Municipality in the district, said the local health post in his area does not have free-of-cost essential medicines.
“We have been buying essential medicines from private pharmacies. People at the health post say that they are waiting for the local body to supply the medicines. But looking at the things as they are right now, the medicines are not forthcoming soon,” he said. The heath workers in Sunsari and Bhojpur districts have also complained of difficulty they were facing due to shortage of essential medicines in health facilities.
They do not know when the local bodies are going to make the supply.
A health worker at Shadananda Municipality in Bhojpur said the health facility where he worked has been distributing the medicines supplied by the District Public Health Office before the local level elections.
“The municipality has not supplied any medicine so far and we are very close to running out of stock,” he said.
(With inputs from our local correspondents)