Patients forced to seek medical attention across the borderWhen Dal Bahadur Saud of Maharuda in Baitadi took his daughter to Baitadi District Hospital to treat the injuries she had sustained in her hands, health workers there advised him to take her to Pithoragarh in India for treatment.
When Dal Bahadur Saud of Maharuda in Baitadi took his daughter to Baitadi District Hospital to treat the injuries she had sustained in her hands, health workers there advised him to take her to Pithoragarh in India for treatment.
After Arjun Giri of Satbajh injured himself by falling off a tree, his brother Laxman took him to Pithoragarh Hospital for treatment. The duo had got the same advice from health workers at the district hospital—to go across the border for treatment.
“The treatment cost in Pithoragarh is very high. It’s hard for us to pay for the expenses,” Laxman said.
More than 300 patients from Baitadi visit Pithoragarh-based hospitals across the border for treatment on a daily basis.
As a result, the flow of patients to Baitadi District Hospital has reduced to a trickle as patients seeking treatment even for common ailments like fever, common cold, viral fever and minor surgeries are turned back.
Dr Jagadish Bista, medical officer at the Baitadi hospital, said, “The services provided by the hospital have deteriorated because the post of the medical specialist has remained vacant for a long time now.” According to him, the infrastructure and equipment at the hospital also do not support quality medical services.
Senior Auxiliary Health Worker Bhuwan Joshi said the hospital is also unable to provide pregnant women and teenage girls with free medication and such is the case at many health posts in rural areas.
“The condition of other health posts in the remote areas is more miserable with below par medical facilities and services,” said Joshi.
Mayor at Dasharath Chand Municipality, Narendra Singh Thapa said health posts and hospitals are in dire straits due to insufficient budget. “There is complete mismanagement from the local units responsible for maintaining the health sector.”
People of Baitadi have asked the government repeatedly to build a fully facilitated hospital in the district, to no avail. Narendra Bista, a social worker, said the lack of good medical facilities in the area has forced people to go to India for treatment.
“The government should focus on constructing a well-equipped functional hospital in the district headquarters rather than planning to build a state-of-the-art hospital in each local unit,” said Bista.