Health Minister draws flak over DG appointmentHealth Minister Deepak Bohora’s decision to swap Director General at the Department of Health Services has run into controversy after the ousted DG tendered his resignation claiming that there has been an anomaly in the appointment. Despite having around one and a half year left on his tenure,
Health Minister Deepak Bohora’s decision to swap Director General at the Department of Health Services has run into controversy after the ousted DG tendered his resignation claiming that there has been an anomaly in the appointment. Despite having around one and a half year left on his tenure, Dr Rajendra Pant resigned as DG of the DoHS after he was transferred to the Ministry of Health.
Health Minister Bohora had appointed Dr Tara Nath Poudel as Acting DG of the DoHS replacing Dr Pant on January 14.
“I cannot fall into this dirty game. The appointments and transfers made each time are done on dubious grounds. I could not accept it anymore,” said Dr Pant.
However, the ministry has not approved his resignation yet.
The minister’s move raised controversy after Dr Poudel was appointed to the post ahead of officials who were senior to him in an apparent violation of Health Services Act 1997 and Health Services Rules.
According to the Act, an official has to be of the 12th level to be appointed as the head of department (for this instance DoHS or someone who is of the 11th level with an experience of 5 years in the position.
Even advisors to Minister Bohora have expressed their resentment over the decision.
“In this appointment, all these criteria have been grossly violated. We need a dynamic and innovative leadership in the Department of Health at a time when performance of health sector is not up to the par,” said Dr Yasobardhan Pradhan, advisor to the Health Minister Bohora.
Following the differences over the appointment, Pradhan has maintained a distance with Minister Bohora for over a week.
The appointment became controversial mainly because of the fact that the minister chose Dr Poudel, overlooking two senior candidates at the DoHS division who are eligbible for the post. Dr Bhim Acharya, the chief of Epidemiology and Disease Control Division, and Dr Bhim Tinkari, chief of Logistics Management Division, are senior to Dr Poudel.
It could yet snowball into a major issue with a number of directors dropping a hint that they could step down if such injustice continues within the ministry.
The DG at the DoHS has always drawn special interest among officials, considering that the person holding the post is responsible for delivering health services across the country and has to deal with millions of procurements and programmes.
Newly appointed DG Dr Poudel, however, claimed that he meets all the requirements to work at the post.
“I have worked many years outside Kathmandu and I am equally competent as those who are working here,” he said.
“This is a recognition of my exemplary works outside Kathmandu. I have dome exemplary works while stationed in Butwal, Gulmi and Dadeldhura.”