Makwanpur local unit endorses free health care for Chepang communityBhimphedi Rural Municipality becomes the first local unit to distribute free health insurance cards to impoverished Chepangs.
Subhadra Chepang, 71, of Bhimphedi Rural Municipality in Makwanpur district suffers from chronic chest and joint pains. She has not been able to seek medical help because of poverty. But her sufferings are soon coming to an end. The rural municipality on Friday handed her a health care card that can get her medical check-ups and treatment for up to Rs100,000.
The health care card is an insurance policy extended by the rural municipality to the impoverished Chepang community. It will be implemented from the upcoming fiscal year.
“Bhimphedi Rural Municipality is the first local unit in Makwanpur district to provide free health care to the Chepang community,” Hidam Lama, chief of the rural municipality, said.
The local unit, with the Chepang population of 505, has invested Rs 419,000 for the health insurance scheme.
According to officials of the rural municipality, they have sent nine employees to collect the data of Chepang people in the villages.
Surendra Thike, a social activist, said that Chepang people have been out of the health care system because of acute poverty and superstition. Even today, Chepangs in rural areas rely on shamans to cure their ailments.
“With this initiative, we hope that they will visit health facilities if they fall sick,” Thike said.
There are 19,152 Chepang people living in Makwanpur alone. As per the record of the National Census 2011, there were 62,399 Chepangs in the country.