Rukum (East) residents say they don’t have proper hospital facilityThe district hospital is ill-equipped and faces a shortage of essential medicines and infrastructure.
While most district hospitals across the country are facing problems due to a lack of human resources, the district hospital in Rukum (East) has four medical officers and 49 other health workers—enough to run the 5-bed health facility.
The provincial government plans to upgrade the hospital to a 50-bed facility but the upgradation process is yet to begin.
Meanwhile, the health staff find themselves without much to do at the hospital, as the facility lacks medical equipment, medicines and other physical infrastructure.
The Rukumkot health post situated in Sisne Rural Municipality Ward No. 5 was turned into a district hospital with the division of Rukum district into east and west in 2017.
Despite it being turned into a district hospital, it still remains ill-equipped and faces a shortage of infrastructure and essential medicines.
“We have enough staff with us but we are still unable to cater to the local people since we do not have the necessary equipment, medicines and other required physical infrastructure,” said Dr Purna Bahadur Pun, the medical officer at the hospital.
According to him, some medical tools at the hospital have been left unused as there is not enough space to install them.
“The hospital has a digital X-ray machine but it is not in use since there is no space to set it up,” he said.
The hospital operates out of a building constructed for delivery services. The building also houses the Out-Patient Department, In-Patient Department and doctors’ quarters.
Chief Minister of Lumbini Province Shankar Pokharel had inaugurated the hospital in November last year. After the inauguration, necessary human resources were posted to the hospital but not much was done to upgrade the physical infrastructure.
The local people, who had expected quality health services with the establishment of the district hospital, complain that they can’t get treatment for even minor health problems at the institution.
“The district hospital is only for the namesake. We have to go to other health facilities to receive services. The hospital is like a referral centre,” said Bikram Shahi, a local resident.
Mana Kumari Budha, a resident of Sisne-4, said that she had visited the district hospital of Rukum (West) twice in the past year, as the district hospital of Rukum (East) is not equipped well. “I had consulted with the doctors there but they could not treat me since they did not have the equipment or the medicines I needed,” said Budha.
The district hospital in Rukum (East) is under the provincial government.
Health workers at the hospital say that the provincial government is to be blamed for the current state of the facility since it has yet to provide them with the needed medicines, equipment and infrastructure.
Dr Ganesh Chaudhary, the chief at the hospital, said the provincial government had sent a few beds but they are yet to be installed since the hospital building doesn't have space.
“It’s a long process but efforts are underway to manage the required medicines, tools and infrastructures for the hospital and provide quality health services to the people,” said Chaudhary.