Dang district health office does not have funds to fight Covid-19The provincial government has allocated budget to the local units but they haven’t prioritised health services.
At a time when the hospitals need to work effectively to control the possible spread of Covid-19, Dang District Health Office has been struggling to mobilise its employees due to shortage of budget.
The health office, which is under the ambit of the provincial Social Development Ministry, said it also faces difficulties coordinating with subordinate units, and launching awareness drives due to the budget crunch.
“We face serious problems mobilising health workers due to the lack of budget. Movement of the employees has been hit the hardest as the office does not have a budget for fuel,” said Sunita Paudel, chief of the health office.”
“How can we work in such a critical hour without the necessary budget?” said asked. “Everyone has high expectations from the health office, but it is unfortunate that we can’t do anything due to lack of funds,” she added.
The health office set up a health desk in Koilabas, a crossing on the Nepal-India border, weeks ago. It also runs health desks in various places in the district.
The Province 5 government on Wednesday released Rs 130 million to all 109 local governments in the province to control the possible outbreak of the deadly virus and provide relief to people affected by lockdown.
Nepalgunj Sub-metropolis was provided Rs 2.5 million while Butwal, Ghorahi and Tulsipur sub-metropolises were given Rs 2 million each. The provincial government provided Rs 1.2 million and Rs 1 million to each municipality and rural municipality respectively.
The provincial executive council also provided Rs 500,000 to the district coordination committees.
Local governments have been managing quarantine facilities and providing reliefs to the needy people. But they have not prioritised health offices while allocating budget.
Paudel said the health office had not received any coronavirus budget so far. “We have neither been provided any budget nor equipment to fight the outbreak,” she said.
According to the district health office, there are a total of 1,022 health workers, including 85 doctors working in various health facilities of the district. “We have maintained the details of the health officials working in the government health facilities as well as in private health centres in the district. We have a plan to mobilise them when required,” said Paudel.