Health sector suffers loss of Rs 3b: Report

- Manish Gautam, Kathmandu
Health sector suffers loss of Rs 3b: Report

Jun 4, 2015-The Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has estimated that the country’s health sector suffered a loss of Rs 3.28 billion in the April 25 earthquake.

The estimation is based on the reports of 14 teams mobilised by the National Planning Commission (NPC)  for Post-Disaster Needs Assessment.

The teams were mobilised to Bhaktapur, Dhading, Dolakha, Gorkha, Kathmandu, Kavre, Lalitpur, Makwanpur, Nuwakot, Okhaldhunga, Ramechhap, Rasuwa, Sindhuli and Sindhupalchok districts.

A majority of the loss has been attributed to the collapse of the buildings (75 percent). There were also cases of health equipment and stored drugs rendered unusable after they were buried under rubble. Except for Makwanpur, all other 13-worst hit districts have reported loss and damages of health equipment and drugs.

The teams had looked into the condition of infrastructure, medical equipment, drugs and medical supplies, status of service delivery and disease pattern and risk assessment.

About 27 percent of the collapsed health institutes are in Sindhupalchok district alone. Here, among the total 78 health posts, 63 were destroyed while nine suffered damages. None of the three primary health centres are functional and the only district hospital has also collapsed.

Mahendra Shrestha, chief of Policy, Planning and International Cooperation Division at the MoHP, said with the available data, they will make financial proposals for reconstruction.

Two weeks back, the MoHP had sought Rs 5 billion from the Finance Ministry to rebuild the earthquake-destroyed healthcare facilities and to rehabilitate the injured. Meanwhile, the NPC has suggested MoHP to collect the data on the loss suffered by private health institutions.

Health workers want better workstation

Health workers in the quake-affected districts have demanded the government to build temporary structures to keep the health service going, saying that they cannot go on working under tents. They have said that the tents that they are using as their workstations right now cannot withstand adverse weather conditions like wind and rain.

Over 400 health centres, including hospitals, primary health centres and health posts, in various districts were reduced to rubble in the Gorkha earthquake; around 400 health facilities have sustained damages and require immediate repair.

Depleting medicine stock

With the monsoon approaching, many health workers fear that the supply of medicines could be hampered due to landslides. They have urged the MoHP to replenish the medicine stock as soon as possible. The health centres in remote parts of Gorkha, Nuwakot, Okhaldhunga, Dhadging and Dolakha districts have already informed the centre about the depleting stock of medicines.

Published: 05-06-2015 08:13

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