Two provincial hospitals in Lumbini offer free health servicesLumbini Provincial Hospital in Butwal and Rapti Provincial Hospital in Dang have started free health checkups for all including a waiver in certain fees.
The Lumbini provincial government started free health checkups from last Sunday in two major hospitals in the province—Lumbini Provincial Hospital in Butwal and Rapti Provincial Hospital in Dang.
Outpatient (OPD) services, emergency tickets and general beds will be free for all patients. Likewise, blood will be provided to patients for free in all government hospitals in the province, according to the Blood Transfusion Service Centre in Lumbini.
Chief Minister Kul Prasad KC announced the launch of the free health service on Sunday. Inaugurating the service, KC said that the provincial government aims to make health services accessible to all.
In the budget speech for the fiscal year 2022-23, the provincial government had announced that patients in the above-mentioned hospitals will receive some financial relief during the course of their treatment.
Medical Superintendent of Lumbini Provincial Hospital, Butwal, Dr Indra Dhakal confirmed that the Emergency and OPD tickets and general bed charge at the hospitals will be free. Every day, around 800 to 1,000 patients from Syangja, Baglung, Parbat and other districts of Lumbini Province come to the 520-bed Lumbini Provincial Hospital for treatment.
According to Medical Superintendent of Rapti Provincial Hospital Dr Binod Singh, the hospital receives 150 to 300 patients daily for OPD services.
“The start of the free health service stands to benefit patients from all financial backgrounds,” he said. “In the past, one had to pay Rs 20 for hospital tickets and Rs 50 per night for general beds.”
The provincial government has also allocated funds from the social service unit for the poor and senior citizens. According to Minister of Health, Population and Family Welfare Indrajit Tharu, it was time the provincial government started providing free health services since it is the fundamental right of the citizens to receive basic health services free of charge.
“It is the government’s responsibility to ensure access to free health for all,” said Tharu.
According to Tharu, Lumbini Provincial Hospital spends approximately Rs 11 million annually on general and OPD services, while Rapti Provincial Hospital spends up to Rs 6 million.
“It is not difficult for the provincial government to cover the expenses incurred by the free services because the budget has already been allocated for this purpose,” he told the Post.
Likewise, the Blood Transfusion Service Centre will also provide free blood to patients with a doctor’s recommendation. Earlier, although blood donors donated blood for free, blood users would have to pay Rs 800 for a pint of blood, which included the cost of a blood bag.
Krishna Pangeni, general secretary at the Blood Transfusion Centre, Lumbini, said that Rs 30 million has been allocated in this year’s budget to provide free blood to patients. An agreement has been signed between the Lumbini Provincial Hospital and Blood Transfusion Service Centre to that effect.