Medicines meant for rural areas 'disappear' on the way

Published On: January 10, 2017 12:20 AM NPT By: Suman Malla

MUGU, Jan 10: The government has categorized 70 types of medicines for free of cost distribution and those are supplied to the rural health posts through the respective district hospitals. However, while the scarcity of medicines in the health posts and government hospitals is not an unheard issue, the situation in Mugu is no different. Amid this, the authorities put the blame on 'surprising disappearance' of the drugs on the way. 

“We have been sending medicines to the remote areas. But they say that they do not get it. We are really surprised as we do not know where the medicines are going,” said Saroj Adhikari, chief of the District Health Office, Mugu. “We must investigate into the matter.”

According to Adhikari, health posts in 24 VDCs of Mugu, four health units and one primary health post are being supplied with medicines on a regular basis.

On the other hand, villagers of Mugu say 'not getting medicines from the health posts is not a new thing'. 

“There is always acute scarcity of medicines in our VDC. We do not get medicine for headache, diarrhea, dysentery or any normal problem. Free medicines is just heard of but not distributed,” said Ratan Bahadur Shahi, a local of Rikhiya village of southern part of Mugu. He added that at least seven VDCs around his village have never received ordinary medicines since a long time. “Let alone other medicines, they cannot even provide us Cetamol. In seven VDCs, finding medicines is next to impossible,” Shahi added. 

Locals of five VDCs of the eastern part of the district have similar complaints. They state that the sight of health workers as well as medicines is a rare sight. “Health workers can be seen around once in two or three months. Except that, we don't encounter them,” said Chhorten Lama, local of Mugu VDC. “And it is when they are spotted we get some medicines. That's it,” he added. 

Lama further said that the distribution of medicines is actually happening in a wrong way. Health workers are not supposed to distribute medicines to commuters haphazardly, but that is what is happening, stated Lama. “They must store medicines in health institutions and distribute them systematically. But since they do not show up in workplace regularly, they have made their own rules,” he alleged. “They appear once in a few months, distribute medicines to commuters and sometimes visit door to door and then get back to the center. That's the problem,” Lama added.

Last week, a delegation of locals of northern part of Mugu had walked to the District Health Office to discuss the matter. “There is health post in our village. There are health institutions. However, there are no medicines, there are no health workers, doctors or nurses,” said Tirtha Malla, one of the delegates. “My village Sorukot has always faced the problem of scarcity of medicines. This puts people's life at risk. Even basic treatment and medicines are not available in our area,” he added. 

Meanwhile, Prem Bahadur Rawat, chief of Drug Store Department of District Health Office seconded the version of the Dr Adhikari. “We have been sending medicines to the remote areas regularly as per their demand. But people complain that they are not getting it. This has put us in trouble. We are really surprised,” Rawat said. 

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