Acute water crisis affects Jumla health posts

Published On: August 3, 2017 08:39 AM NPT By: DB Buda

JUMLA, Aug 2: Fetching water should not have been round-the-clock job of a health assistant. However, assistant health in-charge at Haku Health Post, Dilli Dangi, has no choice. Operating birthing center in the health facility demands huge quantity of water. The center is open day and night.

“Lack of water is a major problem here. Not all the taps in our village work. Water comes from only a few of them. I keep collecting water the whole day. Sometimes during emergency, I have to be ready even during night time. I search for water in the nearby taps,” he said.

Delivering mothers and babies need enough water for cleanliness. Dangi says that it takes around half an hour to and fro the taps in the village. “It consumes a lot of time. It demands lot of energy as well,” he said.

Dangi sometimes feels quite drained out when he makes several rounds to the taps. And yet, enough quantity of water is not collected.

Jayarupa Hamal, a health worker at the birthing center, has to bear the same burden. Fetching drinking water keeps us extremely busy, she says. “No matter how much we carry it, it does not suffice,” she said. “We don't have a tap here,” she added.

The health facility is visited by around 30 to 35 patients per day. Most of them come with kin. There are staff and health workers. At least 50 people need water in the facility every day, Hamal informed.

Another health post in Lamra village has the same story to share. Even though a water tap is seen just near the health post, it does not provide clean drinking water.
According to Surya Kumari Shahi, a health worker in Jumla, water crisis is a common problem in the villages. Health facilities are equally facing the burden, she said.

“There were few water resources. But those were flooded away. Water crisis has deepened much since the last two years,” she noted. “Water taps are there. But the government does not provide clean drinking water. On the other hand, not all of the taps are functioning, they need to be repaired,” Shahi added.

A local of Lamra village, Purna Prasad Neupane, stated that private medical centers are taking advantage of the situation.

“People feel low about state-run health facilities and opt to go to private clinics. They say how can the government health posts provide good treatment when there is not even basic facilities like drinking water,” said Neupane.

Pregnant women, nursing mothers, babies, elderly people and children are hard hit by the lack of proper facilities at the health posts. According to Shahi, birthing centers need enough water to operate properly.

There are 18 birthing centers in the districts and few of them have drinking water facility. Sanitation is equally poor, which upsets service seekers.

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