Dire state of health post in Achham village affects servicesAchham district, one of the remotest districts in Nepal, is deprived of many development indexes including health service.
Achham district, one of the remotest districts in Nepal, is deprived of many development indexes including health service. The district has only one health post in Mangalsen Municipality-13 that caters to the health need of numerous surrounding villages. But the building that houses the health post is in a dilapidated condition and it lacks sufficient medicines and treatment facilities.
The government health post in ward 13 is located in Basti village. The ward has three villages—Basti, Dandigadey and Banda. Residents of other villages have to walk for as long as five hours to reach the health post in Basti. Locals say there have been numerous occasions where pregnant women had gone into labour and delivered on the way to the post.
Sunita Nepali, a local, said she delivered her son on the way to a birthing centre. “I gave birth to my son in a jungle. Fate saved me that day,” she said. “The chances of medical staff being present in the birthing centre are slim. The risk runs high among expecting mothers.”
Ward member Saru Dhami’s words resonates to that of Sunita. She said women suffer the most in lack of adequate health posts in their own villages. “We have to walk for hours to reach Basti village to obtain health services. I have brought up this issue during the ward meetings several times, but nobody listens.”
Meanwhile, the health post in-charge Bijay Shrestha says that the health post is under-equipped.
“We used to operate from a school, but that too is shut now. There are no toilets in the health post and no facilities to run the centre efficiently,” said Shrestha.
There are, however, two private medical centres in the ward that are being operated without a licence. Sixty-six-year-old Hima Saud of Basti village has been a regular patient in one of these medicals for the past one and a half years. She has no account of how much money she has spent at this clinic till date.
“I frequently suffer from headache, cough and fever. It has been over a year since I started visiting this clinic, but the problem persists,” she said.
Ward 13 Chairman Prem Thapa admits that the two clinics in the village are operated illegally. He said that his office has no clue about the legal process to obtain a licence for operating clinics.
“We have made appeals to the concerned authorities to adequately equip the government health posts in the district,” Thapa said.