KMC not to buy new medicines as last year’s purchased drugs are gathering dust in warehousesThe health division had purchased 85 different types of essential medicines last year to distribute free of cost to needy patients.
The Health Division of Kathmandu Metropolitan City has decided not to purchase essential medicines, as the previous year’s supplies remain unused at various warehouses.
The division had purchased 85 kinds of essential medicines worth Rs 9.2 million last year. The medicines were meant to be distributed free of cost through public health facilities in Kathmandu.
"We were unable to distribute the drugs to the patients due to the lack of doctors at health facilities," Narendra Bajracharya, the division’s chief, told the Post. "We do not have an immediate plan to purchase medicines for now."
Medicines for non-communicable diseases like diabetes, hypertension, mental health, heart diseases and asthma need doctor’s prescription. Without doctors at health facilities, these medicines remain in storage.
"Kathmandu has a high number of patients who suffer from various respiratory, heart and mental diseases. But the medicines we purchased last year to treat these conditions could not be distributed, because we could not hire doctors in public health facilities,” Bajracharya said.
Nali Bajracharya, the division’s storekeeper, said that all health facilities managed by the metropolis have been asked to report about the condition of the stocked medicines.
"Some of the medicines are nearing their expiry dates while others could still be used. We will ask the Management Division under the Department of Health Services if it would supply those medicines before deciding about our next purchase plan," she said.
The KMC operates public health posts in 27 of its 32 wards; all of them are without doctors and are being handled by health assistants, auxiliary health assistants and auxiliary nurse midwives.
According to division chief Bajracharya, the Ministry of Health and Population has not allocated enough budget to hire doctors.
The ministry allocated Rs 28 million to the division in the fiscal year 2018/019. In the previous fiscal year 2017/18, the ministry had earmarked a budget of Rs 48 million.
"We could not hire doctors when the ministry had allocated the budget in the fiscal year 2017/18. The following fiscal year, the budget was heavily slashed.”
The ministry did not allocate any budget to the division this fiscal year.
Earlier, the division had issued a vacancy announcement to hire 44 health workers, including 11 doctors for 11 health promotion centres in Kathmandu. More than 1,000 health workers, including doctors, had sat for the exams.
The idea behind starting the health promotion centres was to provide extensive health care services to the people, especially those who cannot afford to go to expensive health facilities and buy costly medicines.
The hiring process, however, could not move forward due to the lack of funds.