JHAPA, Dec 8: Free medicines are no longer available to the public in Jhapa. According to the locals, it has been over three months that the government hospitals and health centers stopped providing free medicines and injections.
“You do not get even paracetamol, let alone other medicines,” said Prava Luitel of Jhapa. “People who are largely dependent on free medicines have been badly affected. Some people do not have the capacity to get examined or get medicines from private hospitals,” she said.
According to health workers, free medicines have not been supplied to hospitals since more than three months. “As the stock of medicines ran out, we had no option than to send back the patients empty handed,” said a health worker.
They also admitted that all types of free medicines were not available even before.
“Not all types of medicines were available even before. But since the last few months, we are literally out of stock,” said Indra Hari Bhattarai, acting chief of Primary Health Care Center at Suranga, Jhapa.
Over 50 asthma patients used to get medicines from the health post daily, according to Bhattarai. As they are not getting the doses, their health is now under risk.
“They need to take the medicines regularly. But it is no more available from here,” he lamented.
“Most of the asthma patients are laborers and many of them are elderly people. And in this winter they are going to suffer even more. Some may become critical in lack of regular medicine.”
There are six primary health care centers, 43 health centers, five community health units, 15 urban health centers, 70 health posts and one zonal hospital in Jhapa. And currently, all of those health facilities are deprived of free medicines, according to health workers.
“It's been three months since we have not been able to provide cetamol to patients, let alone antibiotics,” said a health worker in Kakadbhitta requesting anonymity.
“We are in such a difficult situation that patients are only a step away from literally beating us.
When we tell them that there is no medicine, they turn suspicious and vent their ire on us,” he
The government provides essential medicines of fever, asthma, diarrhea and several other aliments for free. Medications of tuberculosis, leprosy and malaria are also provided free of cost.
“Yes, there is scarcity of medicines. But the tender process for purchase has already been initiated,” Madhusudan Koirala, chief of Public Health Office, Jhapa, said. He added that some medicines would be available within 'two weeks'.