Nepal Army plans to upgrade and expand its health facilitiesThe national defence force has added three provincial hospitals in the last one year.
The Nepal Army is planning to modernise and expand its health facilities in the days to come.
The Covid-19 pandemic has taught us a lesson on the importance of a robust healthcare system, so the Nepal Army’s upcoming priority will be to upgrade and expand the health service it has been providing, Chief of the Army Staff Purna Chandra Thapa said on Monday.
“We are preparing a long term strategy to enhance our health service. The execution will take time, but I want to set its foundation during my tenure,” General Thapa told journalists at a programme held at the Nepal Army headquarters. Thapa retires in September next year.
The national defence force has added three provincial hospitals in the last one year, ending the compulsion for its in-service and retired personnel and their families to come to the Capital for treatment.
Birendra Military Hospital in Chhauni was the only multi-facility hospital before the three military hospitals were built at the provincial level.
Besides, the Army is also running a 50-bed hospital in Nepalgunj. The hospital came into operation in August last year. Two other hospitals, also with 50-bed capacity, in Pokhara and Itahari were also inaugurated in March.
The Army has also been operating two 25-bed satellite hospitals in Dhangadhi and Bardibas.
Similarly, Tri Chandra Military Hospital in Mahankal, Kathmandu, is providing dental and physiotherapy service from its new facility, which was rebuilt following the earthquakes of 2015.
Brigadier General Santosh Ballave Poudyal, spokesperson for the Army, said except for complex treatments, the provincial hospitals are capable of treating all other diseases and conditions.
“The opening of the provincial hospitals has saved the trouble for many retired and incumbent service personnel and their families of having to travel to Kathmandu for treatment,” he said.
The Army provides free health services to in-service and retired army staff, their spouses, parents and children below 18-years of age.
Starting last year, the Birendra Military Hospital, with the support from Kathmandu Metropolitan City, has started free dialysis service for civilians. Brigadier Poudyal said the hospital is planning to procure additional dialysis equipment and expand other facilities.
“Besides operating hospitals, the Nepal Army has also been running health camps for civilians and ex-service personnel in different parts of the country,” he added.
The Army has been using the money from its welfare fund to finance the treatment and expansion of health facilities. As of last year, the welfare fund had Rs 38.57 billion as deposits in different banks, in addition to an investment of Rs 5.64 billion in different sectors.
Ever since taking the leadership of the 90,000-strong force in September 2018, General Thapa has been prioritising civil-military relationship.
Last year the Army, together with the Ministry of Health and Population, conducted a weeklong health camp in Mahottari. The camp had benefited 34,172 civilians, mainly from Province 2 and Bagmati Province.
Along with providing general health services, the camp had also offered 329 surgery services.
The Army plans to conduct similar heath camps for civilians in future.