Epidemiology division asks doctors to be on call during Dashain holidaysHealth ministry directs local and provincial health facilities to keep emergency wards open.
The Epidemiology and Disease Control Division has directed doctors and health workers serving in government health facilities across the country to remain on standby to serve patients during the Dashain festival.
The directive is aimed at ensuring patients get timely treatment as there will be extended holidays, according to Dr Bibek Kumar Lal, director at the division.
Lal said the division is more alert this time also because the country is celebrating Dashain this year just weeks after an outbreak of dengue, which spread to most of the districts, claiming at least six lives and leaving nearly 9,000 hospitalised.
"We have directed doctors to be on call round the clock and take leave on a rotational basis,” Lal told the Post.
Being on call, sai Lal, means even if doctors are at home and are on leave, they need to make themselves available whenever they are called to provide services.
Also, cases of food poisoning go up during the festival season, as holidays mean feasting, said Lal. “Flu cases too have been reported this season, so we are taking extra caution.”
Doctors fear an influenza outbreak, as people gather during the festivals and flu virus can be transmitted easily.
At the request of the division, the Ministry of Health and Population has also asked the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration to direct local and provincial governments to keep emergency departments of all the health facilities open during the Dashain vacation.
Earlier, the Health Ministry itself used to direct the health facilities to run the emergency services during holidays and provide round the clock services. But with the implementation of the federal system and three tiers of government—local, provincial and federal—coming into force, ownership of health facilities are also divided among the three layers of government. Jurisdictions of most of the hospitals and health facilities—health posts, primary health care centres, district hospitals and zonal hospitals—are under the local and provincial governments. The Health Ministry looks after the central level hospitals only.
Meanwhile, issuing a press release, the Health Ministry directed hospitals, departments, divisions and other health agencies under its jurisdiction not to approve long leaves to health workers and other staffers until October 17.