Shortage of essential medicines in Parsa health posts affects servicesTreatment for minor ailments such as viral fever, diarrhoea, skin and ear infections is a challenge.
Public health institutions have been reeling under an acute shortage of medicines in Parsa district.
Of late, patients suffering from seasonal flu and other water-borne diseases are on the rise. But service seekers complain that they are deprived of treatment at the health institutions.
Lahawarthakari Health Post in Pakahamainpur Rural Municipality does not even have a rehydration solution to treat diarrhoea.
“The rural municipality supplied just 100 packets of rehydration solution on June 4. How long can such a meagre supply last? We have a large number of patients seeking treatment for diarrhoea, especially during the rainy season,” said Bikash Shrestha, an auxiliary health worker at the health post.
The government provides 39 essential medicines free of cost through health posts. But most health posts in Parsa are out of stock of essential medicines.
“Most people who visit the health post are patients of diarrhoea, viral fever and skin and ear infections. But we don’t have enough medicines in our store to treat them. We have to endure the locals’ wrath for our inability to provide them medicines,” Shrestha said.
Because of the shortage of medicine in the health facilities, the local people are forced to visit either bordering Indian towns or private clinics for treatment.
“I had sustained injuries on my right elbow, and I went to Lahawarthakari Health Post for treatment, but the health workers sent me away without treating me because they didn’t have the necessary medicines,” said Jhola Sah of Lahawarthakari. He said he had to go to the neighbouring Indian town to receive treatment.
The residents of the rural municipality in Parsa blame the local representatives of being inactive in arranging for health supplies at the local health posts.
“It’s been two years since the elected representatives assumed office, but they have done nothing to reform the health sector. The local health post does not even have iron pills or cotton for dressing wounds,” said local Prithvi Chandra Prasad. “We have to go to Indian towns to treat minor wounds despite having a health post in our own locality.”
Manish Singh, the health unit chief of Pakahamainpur Rural Municipality, admitted to the short supply of medicines in the district’s health posts. He, however, blames the health workers for their negligence in managing the demand and supply of medication at the health posts.
“We have rehydration solutions and other medicines in our godown. We will immediately supply them to the health facilities if they ask us to,” Singh said.
But it’s not only the health posts in villages that are in short supply of essential medicines—health posts in Birgunj Metropolitan City too are lacking essential medicines. There are 16 health posts in the metropolis. Among them, the health posts at Sugauli, Bhawanipur, Alau and Harpatgunj do not have essential medicines.
“There is a shortage of medicines in some health posts. The problem will be resolved within a week,” said Arun Kumar Mahato, chief of health and social development office of Birgunj Metropolis.