Many elderly care centres only in paper: Rights body

- Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu

Dec 8, 2018-

Many elderly day-care centres that receive government and donors grant exist only in paper, while a majority of old-age homes operate in deplorable conditions, according to a report by National Human Rights Commission.

The report carried out in 49 districts of the country reveals that many such shelters for senior citizens lack financial transparency. The report published by the national human rights watchdog on Friday is based on a study they conducted by reviewing 86 old-age homes, 30 day-care and six service centres. The research has found that eight old-age homes, which have the capacity to accommodate around 20 people, are hosting only one elderly citizen each; while those which has the capacity to host less than three people is accommodating 10. A majority of such homes have less than 10 people in them.

In the study, the commission found that 84 old-age homes have their own buildings, constructed with government grants and donations, with adequate land. Prakash Osti, a member of the commission, who led the research, said that they found a number of malpractices being carried out in the day-care centres and the old-age homes. “We were surprised to know about the jhole (exist only on papers) centres which were opened just to make money,” he said, while making public the report. According to Osti, in many places they were asked to not come for their research by their managers.

The report, however, doesn’t give exact numbers as to how many such fake centres exist, and how much money they get from the government or donor agencies. Khimananda Basyal, a member of the study team, told the Post that the number of such fake centres could be around 10 percent of the total number of centres that exist in the country.

He also said that a large number of elderly homes, which only have a few senior citizens, are operating just to make money rather than providing service. “Having said that, there are many homes that are running brilliantly and serving lots of needy people,” he said. 

The Ministry of Urban Development had allocated Rs 83 million for the infrastructure development of elderly homes and day-care in the last fiscal year. The amount has reached Rs 107 million this year. The report says that though the budget under the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development has gotten higher, accurate figures are not available as the respective districts disperse the funds instead of the ministry itself.

Though a majority of service providers receive the funds from abroad as well, the commission couldn’t get the exact amount for lack of cooperation from Nepal Rastra Bank, which oversees the money that comes from foreign land. 

“We also found many such centres haven’t registered with the government agencies fearing that they would have to reveal the details of the support they get from abroad,” Basyal added.

Published: 08-12-2018 08:48

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