In Baitadi, an acute water shortage hits operations at health facilitiesTo provide services to the people, health workers have been carrying water from distant water sources to the health posts daily.
In accordance with the set government standards, health facilities—including birthing centres—should have running water round-the-clock. But most of the health facilities in Baitadi run dry, as the district is reeling under water shortage.
Bhumeshor Health Post in Patan Municipality Ward No. 4 is one example of how severe the crisis is. Auxiliary Health Worker Jagadish BK said that health workers have to carry water from a distant water source to maintain daily needs. He said, “Our office assistants have to wait in a long queue to fetch a vessel of water in the morning.”
Bhumeshor Health Post also provides maternity services. Jyoti Sunar, an auxiliary nurse midwife of the health post, said that they are facing difficulties to perform most deliveries due to water shortage. She said, “Because of the lack of water, it has become challenging to maintain sanitation after completing a delivery.”
The problem is similar in Barakot Health Post, Dasarathchand Municipality in the district headquarters. Auxiliary Health Worker Suraj Bhatta said water supply is irregular here as well. “Our office assistants carry water in vessels to carry out daily operations. Sometimes, at the end of the day, we don’t even have water to wash our hands after completing our work,” said Bhatta.
There are 65 health posts, two primary health centres and one hospital in Baitadi. A majority of those health facilities are reeling under water shortage. Bhim Singh Air, health assistant of Thakada Health Post in Sigas, said that they have been facing a shortage of water in the health post for a long time. He said, “The concerned authority should manage the supply of water in the health posts otherwise health posts cannot provide effective services.”
Bhuwan Joshi, information officer of the Health Office in the district, said that local units should be responsible to maintain regular water supply in the health facilities.
After the country went into the federal set up, local units became responsible to oversee the problems of health posts and solve them. “Local government allocates budget to the health posts and they should be responsible to solve this problem too,” said Joshi, adding that people’s representatives are staying mum despite knowing the gravity of the situation.
People’s representatives say that they are indeed working to solve the water scarcity problem. Keshav Bahadur Chand, mayor of Baitadi’s Patan Municipality, said construction work of various drinking water projects is underway to solve the problem. According to him, the problem will be minimised soon.