BIRATNAGAR, July 30: Two families living in miserable condition in Morang proves that the government's assurance to provide free treatment to the poor and needy is nothing more than a slogan. A Bishwokarma family of Rangeli and a Dhimal family of Urlabari have been unable to treat their family members due to extreme poverty.
The whole family was elated when Roshan Bishwokarma gave birth to a son five years ago. As the child grew up, family members discovered that he could neither walk nor talk. Poor diet and insufficient care badly affected the health of the child. It is hard for Roshan to treat his son Mahesh with the little money that he earns by cleaning vehicles.
Twenty-seven-year old Manju Dhimal of Urlabari-6 used to be the breadwinner of her family until both her kidneys failed to function. Six months ago, she lost her husband Bupesh Rai and since then she was rearing her two children with great difficulty. Her family was just trying to get over the grief of Bhupesh's demise when they had to deal with another tragedy. These days her little children are living a life of hell. With the little amount that she earns through labor, she is confused whether to use it for her family or for her own treatment.
Both of these families are deprived of the free treatment announced by the government.
“Bishwokarma family neither has any vehicle nor does it have money to reach hospital,” said Rabindra Baral, a local of Rangeli. Day by day, the health of Mahesh is degrading due to lack of treatment.
It has been years that the Bishwokarma family has been living in a dilapidated house. “He is five years old but still can't speak nor walk. I don't know how we will make him well,” said Shanta, mother of Mahesh.
Her husband alone has been earning for the family. Two years ago, they had taken their son to Biratnagar-based Physical Rehabilitation Centre. Later, they were told to take care of their son at home as they couldn't meet the expense for his treatment.
“I hope the government would provide us some help,” said Roshan.
Meanwhile, Manju can hardly perform heavy works these days which has ultimately reduced her income. It has made it difficult for her to manage two square meals a day for her family.
Though relatives of Manju are ready to offer kidney to her, she has no money for the transplantation. “Doctors have told me to go to Kathmandu for kidney transplant but I don't have a penny for it,” Manju laments. She is more worried about her children. “The only reason why I want to live is for my children. I don't know how they will survive if I die,” Manju said.
Every year, the Ministry of Health allocates additional budget to the government hospitals in order to provide free or partial treatment to the poor, helpless, disabled, senior citizens, people from marginalized communities and the victims of gender-based violence or exploitation. In the last fiscal year, the ministry had provided a budget of Rs 4 million to Biratnagar-based Koshi Zonal Hospital. In the current fiscal year, as many as 768 patients received free treatment in the last two months, according to the District Public Health Office. Poor and helpless people accuse the well-offs for utilizing the government privileges which are actually meant for them.