KATHMANDU, Sept 19: The members of parliament (MPs) from the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) have accused Health Minister Upendra Yadav of not doing enough to tackle the dengue outbreak. Speaking at the parliament on Wednesday, MPs said that the outbreak of mosquito-borne disease could have been prevented had the Ministry of Health and Population responded with urgency in time.
Dengue has turned into one of the worst national health crises of recent times as hospitals across the country are struggling to manage beds, medicine and blood to patients.
“The health minister and his deputy acted as if nothing has happened although dengue was turning into a health crisis. What can be more irresponsible than this?” Nepal Communist Party MP Krishna Gopal Shrestha said in parliament. Shrestha, albeit with sarcasm, asked Yadav if he visited Shukraraj Tropical and Infectious Diseases Hospital, the only hospital specialized in tropical and infectious diseases that has been seeing sharp increase in number of patient in recent weeks.
NCP MP Nabina Lama lambasted Yadav for promoting nepotism and favoritism in the health ministry, and destroying the public health system.
The MPs also called on the government to declare national emergency to tackle the dengue crisis.
Responding to MPs’ queries, Minister Yadav claimed that the government was achieving gradual success in containing the disease and said there was no need to declare a national health emergency. “There is no medicine to cure dengue and even countries with much better healthcare systems are facing this problem. The government is doing its best,” said Yadav.
Mocking at Yadav’s answer to the parliament, NCP MP Birodh Khatiwada asked the government to build a temple to contain dengue. There is a temple named Latarammeshwar for worship by those seeking good harvest and there is Santaneshwar temple for couples wishing offspring, he said.
“Why don’t we combat dengue by building a temple of ‘Lamkhuteshwar’ [lord of mosquitoes]?”
Despite a national crisis at home, Yadav on Wednesday left for the US, making it his 25th foreign visit since he took office last year.
The viral infection has spread across the tarai, hills and mountains with 62 out of 77 districts reporting dengue cases until Wednesday, officials said. Although exact figures are hard to come by, some reports suggest that more than 100,000 people could have been taken ill due to dengue.