ILAM, Feb 16: After restructuring the government in the new federal setup, a large number of government bodies based in the district headquarters were brought under the jurisdiction of the local government. However, there is still confusion over the authority of the District Public Health Office (DPHO), Ilam.
This has compelled the officials of the DPHO to spend their days basking in the sun since the past four months. They are jobless and are also deprived of their salaries and allowances. There are altogether 17 officials at the DPHO and most of them come to the office regularly and spend their time doing everything other than work. Some of them come to the office just for attendance and return home after spending one or two hours there.
After the formation of the Health Division Office in Phidim to look after the health issues of Ilam, Panchthar and Taplejung, the DPHO has been rendered useless without having any responsibility.
"None of us have received salaries since the past four months," said Bimal Baral, vector control supervisor of the office, adding, "There is no work and no pay." Chief of the DPHO is currently in an official visit to Jhapa.
Some of the officials of the DPHO have been shifted to the Health Division Office in Phidim. In the beginning of the current fiscal, the DPHO was instructed to distribute the annual salary to its staff. They were even provided with the salary of the first three months. However, in September, the Health Service Department sent a letter to the DPHO urging it to hand over the allocated salary to the Financial Comptroller General's Office (FCGO).
Earlier, the DPHO used to lead all the health organizations of the district. It was also responsible for the delivery of medicines and deployment of doctors and health workers in case of emergency or epidemic. However, that role has now been entrusted to the local government. "In case of an epidemic or health disaster, we won't be able to do anything as we lack manpower now despite having the infrastructures," said Baral.
Recently, a new building was built for the DPHO by spending Rs. 40 million.