Print Edition - 2014-07-18 | Nation
Govt to prioritise access to health care, workforce
- new health policy
Jul 17, 2014-
The Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) is planning to set up health centres within half an hour walking distance from each settlement area. The final draft of the new “Nepal Health Policy: 2014” has envisioned establishing at least one health centre in each village in accordance with the population and geographical location while primary health care centres will be established in areas with 20,000 population. Similarly, the policy has proposed the establishment of a 25-bed hospital in an area with population of 100,000.
The new policy that has been sent to the Cabinet for endorsement will replace the Nepal Health Policy 1991. The 1991 policy was based on rural health while access to health care was its major focus. Similarly, the policy had focused more on combating communicable diseases. “The policy was suitable for that time. Now, population has increased and so has the burden of non-communicable diseases. Concept of urban health and coordination of the MoHP with other line ministries remains the primary focus of the new policy,” said Dr Padam Bahadur Chand, spokesperson at the MoHP.
The new policy has also proposed keeping a doctor and a nurse in each Village Development Committee while keeping a nurse midwife in each ward. Similarly, it has also planned to form separate positions for health inspectors in all 240 constituencies to ensure better sanitation, hygiene and address public health issues.
Similarly, the government is planning to ensure 23 health workers, including one doctor, for each 10,000 populations in the upcoming years. The MoHP has also planned to increase the number of health workers so as to maintain healthy ratio of health workers and populations. At present, there are around four doctors for 100,000 populations. The final draft of new health policy has also proposed increasing the number of sanctioned position of health workers, including doctors and nurses, with programmes to retain the workforce.
Dr BD Chataut, a public health expert, said equity in health care delivery along with increasing access to specialised health services is a major issue of the policy. He said the policy has sought help from other line agencies to improve the health outcomes. “The policy has envisioned school health programme in coordination with Ministry of Education which is likely to help improve the nutritional status of children while also ensuring their attendance,” Dr Chataut said.
Published: 18-07-2014 08:48