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Ministry urged to release Rs3 billion for providing health care to ‘disadvantaged’

  • The Nursing and Social Security Division used up this fiscal year’s budget--Rs1.10 billion--as reimbursement and to provide care to ‘disadvantaged citizens’ within four months.
- ARJUN POUDEL, Kathmandu

May 13, 2019-

The Nursing and Social Security Division under the Department of Health Services has demanded an additional Rs1.51 billion from the Ministry of Health and Population to continue providing care to ‘disadvantaged citizen’ in the current fiscal year.

The division, which is responsible for providing care to ‘disadvantaged citizen’, said that it was unable to reimburse the hospitals for the last six months due to budget deficit.

The government has committed to providing free dialysis service to patients suffering from renal failure and offered Rs400,000 to each patient opting for a kidney transplantation. Patients suffering from cardiovascular disease, cancer, parkinson’s, alzhemier’s, spinal injury, head injury and sickle cell anemia can receive free treatment of upto Rs100,000 each from those health facilities that have signed an agreement with the Health Ministry.

Overall, 80 government and private hospitals in the country have signed an agreement with the Health Ministry to provide services to disadvantaged citizen.

The government had released Rs1.10 billion to the division for this fiscal as reimbursement and to provide care to ‘disadvantaged citizens’. However, the entire amount was used up by the division within four months.

“The division requires Rs3 billion a year to provide services to the disadvantaged citizens,” Roshani Laxmi Tuitui, director at the division, told the Post. “However, we were allocated only Rs1.1 billion and we ran out of funds before the fiscal end and since the number of patients suffering from serious types of non-communicable diseases has seen a significant rise, the amount allocated to us was not enough.”

According to Tuitui, the division receives several queries from dozens of hospitals about the reimbursement each day. She said, “One of my staff called me this morning and asked if we all could stay on leave to avoid embarrassment for lack of our ability to dispense funds.”

The department has sent a request for additional amount to the Health Ministry twice already, the latter has forwarded the department’s request to the Ministry of Finance, according to Tuitui.

Due to the Health Ministry’s failure to reimburse the amount, health facilities across the country have said that they will be compelled to stop the free services. This move stands to affect hundreds of patients suffering from serious diseases.

For the next fiscal year, the Health Ministry has fixed the ceiling to the ‘Disadvantaged Citizen Medical Treatment Fund’ at Rs1 billion budget—about a third of what (Rs 3 billion) the division said it would need to continue the free services.

 

Published: 14-05-2019 06:30

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