DHARAN, Sept 24: Jamuna Rai, who has been suffering from the neurological disorder, is originally from Udayapur. Currently, she is living with her brothers in Dharan for the treatment of her ailment. Her illness often knocks her unconscious. In such situation, her brothers take her to the nearby Out Patients Department (OPD) of BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences (BPKIHS) where she gets treatment and medication.
On Sunday morning, Jamuna encountered the same problem. She was immediately taken to the OPD of BKIHS by her relatives. Unfortunately, there were no doctors in the hospital. They wandered from one ward to another in search of doctors but couldn't find any of them.
“We were later told that the doctors are on strike,” said Dil Kumar Rai, elder brother of Jamuna. According to him, there are many more patients like his sister who are struggling in lack of timely health services.
After his sixty-four years old mother broke her leg by falling from stairs, Dinesh Giri brought his mother to BPKHIS for treatment. Doctor's had told them to come on Sunday for placing steel on her right leg. However, on that day, the doctors had called a strike about which patients were unaware.
“I was told that we can get treatment at reasonable fees here but I didn't know we had to return home without treatment,” he laments.
Doctors and paramedics across the country have been staging strikes by boycotting their duties in protest against the recent cabinet decision to bring reforms in the health sector.
The Council of Ministers had proposed a new law in order to control the rise in death rate of patients across the country due to doctors' negligence.
Under the proposed law, doctors will have to pay compensation for the death of the patient if they are found guilty of negligence.
Following the announcement, doctors been staging protests and have shut down the OPD service since Friday. Due to the protest called by Nepal Medical Association (NMA), an umbrella organization of doctors, thousands of patients across the country have been affected.
If the government and doctors don't come to an understanding, a large number of patients are likely to lose their life in lack of timely treatment. BPKHIS is an institute where hundreds of patients of the eastern part of the country are referred to for treatment. As per the record of the hospital, around 2,500 patients visit the hospital seeking various services on a daily basis.
Earlier, doctors and staff of BPKHIS were on protest demanding increment in salary and probe into corruption cases.
“Hundreds of patients who come from long distance are obliged to return without treatment,” said Rudra Basnet, a security guard at BPKHIS, adding, “They keep questioning me about the reason for the boycott and I am tired of repeating the same answer to all of them.”
Dr Mohan Chandra Regmi, chief of NMA, Dharan, informed that there have been several meetings between the government authorities and the association which is likely to bring everything back on track.