Nutrition home on the brink of closure due to lack of budgetThe Nutrition Rehabilitation Home (NRH) at Sagarmatha Zonal Hospital in Rajbiraj, which was set up seven years ago to provide treatment and nutritious food to malnourished children, is on the brink of closure due to budget shortage.
The Nutrition Rehabilitation Home (NRH) at Sagarmatha Zonal Hospital in Rajbiraj, which was set up seven years ago to provide treatment and nutritious food to malnourished children, is on the brink of closure due to budget shortage.
According to Rashmi Jha, NRH’s manager, the home has been struggling to operate as it has not received any budget since the start of the current fiscal year in mid-July. The NRH has been borrowing food and nutrition for the malnourished children, Jha said.
Currently, 11 malnourished children are receiving treatment and care at the NRH.
“Around 1,135 children have received treatment at the nutrition programme in the last seven years. Children from Saptari, Siraha, Udayapur and even Indian villages bordering with Nepal are brought to the NRH for treatment and rehabilitation,” said Jha.
Province 2 has a serious problem of malnutrition. As per the Nepal Demographic and Health Survey 2016, the figure of malnourishment, dwarfness and underweight in Province 2 is below the average national figure. The survey shows that 14.4 percent of children are suffering from malnutrition in Province 2 while the national figure is 9.7.
The Child Health Division under the Health Ministry had been providing the necessary budget to the NRH until last fiscal year. In the last fiscal year, the home had received a budget of Rs 3.9 million for its nutrition programme.
However, starting from this fiscal year, the nutrition programme has been put under the Family Health Division and the budget has to be passed by the provincial government.
“The provincial government has not allocated any budget for the programme this fiscal year. If the situation continues, the home will be closed within a couple of days,” said Jha. “The employees at the NRH have not received any salary in the past six months.”
Nine employees are working at the home at present.
The nutrition home is on the premises of Sagarmatha Zonal Hospital. Dr Chuman Lal Das, Medical Superintendent at the hospital, said he has informed the provincial government about the problem time and again but to no avail.