Locals forced to visit shaman in absence of health workers
September 24, 2016 01:00 AM NPT
By: Suman Malla
MUGU, Sept 22: Despite having health posts in the villages, locals of Mugu district are forced seek help from shamans to cure diseases.
Health posts in eastern VDCs such as Mugu, Dolphu, Kimri and Pulu remain out of operation most of the time due to medicine shortage and absenteeism of health workers. Due to this, locals are forced to visit shamans to cure common diseases such as fever, headache and common cold as well as severe ones such as maternity service.
Although the government has spent millions of rupees in establishing maternity service in those VDCs, the investment has not been fruitful. “Maternity service provided by health posts remains unused. Many prefer giving birth at home. If the situation gets critical, they would visit the next village to seek help from shaman,” said Tsering Lama, a local of Simrik VDC.
Left with no alternatives, locals of the entire villages of eastern Mugu visit shaman Lobsang Lama, 75, of Kimri-1. Lama claimed that he cures varieties of aliments using herbal medicines, which he learned to process with long years of research.
The government normally assigns five to eight health workers in a health post depending on its size. However, many health workers refuse to get assigned in rural areas and chose to stay in towns and urban areas despite enjoying the perks and salary allocated by the government for rural areas. Such actions deprive locals of necessary medicines and health services.
However, District Public Health Office (DPHO), Mugu neither takes action against such health workers nor does it force them to stay in health posts where they have been assigned to. The office admitted of having some constrains and challenges to take action against such health workers.
“We have not even seen faces of health workers, let alone receive service from them,” said Karma Lama, a local of Mugu VDC and former vice-president of the District Development Committee (DDC).
“Hima Tsering Lama, who is in-charge of the health post of Mugu VDC, has been staying in the district headquarters Gamgadhi operating a shop for a long time. Yet, he still enjoys the government's perks and salary despite neglecting his job,” said Lama.
Locals of Mugu VDC have requested Hima Tsering Lama not to shun his responsibilities many a times, but to no avail. “Many people do the same thing. There are numerous health workers who stay in Gamgadi and enjoy the salary. But only I'm being targeted,” in-charge Lama responded angrily.
Meanwhile, Dr Saroj Ghimire, chief of the DPHO, said he has already received complaints from locals. “I've already acted on the complaints and instructed such health workers to stay at their workplace immediately. We'll take legal action if they fail to comply with the instructions,” he informed.