Have Your Say

Of unhealthy misgivings

Published On: September 9, 2016 03:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Sept 9: Former prime ministers, Late Sushil Koirala and KP Sharma Oli took a huge chuck from the government coffers to fund their medical expenses. Now, the trend continues with Nepal’s first president Dr Ram Baran Yadav, who was receiving treatment in Chandigarh, India, and was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

He decided to go to US to undergo an operation to remove cancerous cells from his body and the government has already provided him with an advance of Rs 6 million for an operation that will cost around Rs 30 million. Nepal’s VIPs and dignitaries have always been going abroad for their medical issues.

However, anybody and everybody with a little money will choose to go abroad instead of seeking medical help in the country itself. Why is there such mistrust for the country’s medical system? The Week spoke to some people to get their opinion on the matter.  

Bigyan Adhikari, 24

Sales Executive, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Pvt. Ltd.


I think that the main reason behind people preferring to get medical treatment abroad is the firm belief that the medical sector there is far more advanced than in Nepal. It’s deeply rooted in the mind of the Nepalis, regardless of their social status. When people buy medicines even for a mild headache they prefer Indian brands. This hesitation is somewhat justified because not all medical institutes possess advanced infrastructures and equipments. Having said that though, there is no lack of medical experts in Nepal. As in the case of Dr Shashank Koirala, Nepali Congress General Secretary, there was a hint of disbelief in his treatment when the leaders wanted to take him to Delhi. But his successful recovery proved the ability of Nepali doctors. In my view, these VIPs and other people who opt to go abroad should consult experts in their own nation before deciding on what to do further. Often times, people don’t even take our medical facilities into consideration and just decide to get the best money can buy and go abroad.

Mira Upadhyay, 65

Retired Vice Principle, Padma Kanya Higher Secondary School

There have been repeated incidents of misdiagnoses and patients dying under the care of a doctor or a hospital and that has clearly created a mass distrust for the capabilities of the medical facility in our country. When you can get a trustworthy medical examination in India for almost the same amount of money you end up spending in private hospitals in the country, who wouldn’t opt to go? They need to create an environment of trust and start taking care of the patients carefully remembering the fact that the life they have chosen is of service and not business. The government needs to keep a close watch on the hospitals and all its doctors and make sure that when the doctors mess up, a befitting punishment is given. It’s not that all the doctors here are untrustworthy. There are a handful of really good ones but they too get shrouded in mistrust because of what goes around. The only way to move forward is to create an environment where nobody wants to leave the country to get treatment and that can only happen when the government is serious about this issue. 

Shaurabh Lohani, 29

Owner, Dormitory Nepal​

To put it quite bluntly, even for the simplest reasons the doctors here recommend patients to go to hospitals in India if they want good treatment and this is one reason why people like me would have second thoughts and wonder why not go to India right away.  Obviously, the facilities there are top notch, it’s cheap, and there’s the cultural similarities and language ease. There are several aspects in which Nepal’s medical industry needs to advance in order to ensure better health facilities. The availability of medicines and modern equipments are top of the list. Unnecessary strikes and closures shouldn’t affect our medical system as well. Also, most of the doctors are 
practitioners and it is impossible to meet experienced doctors who have been practicing for a long time. The medical industry in Nepal needs to improve, and it can only improve when people are aware that health facility is a right and not a choice. A lot of people seem to be unaware of how things should work in the country hence people easily get redirected to private clinics and get cheated. There’s a long way to go before the medical system can earn the public’s trust. 

Dr Arjun Mainali, 30

M.D. Internal Medicine, 2nd year Resident, Nepal Medical College and Teaching Hospital

There are definitely expert professionals in Nepal who can deliver the best services. Nevertheless, people opt to go to renowned hospitals in other countries. I think there are various reasons for this. There is no denying the fast pace and coordination with which those institutions abroad act. They also are excellent when it comes to teamwork which I think is quite lacking here. There are only a handful of hospitals in Nepal that provide good service. In spite of presence of really good medical personnel, patients are not satisfied and do not necessarily trust the experts at home due to diagnostic dilemma, and lack of confidence in the local doctors. They tend to choose India or other countries even if the purpose is only to get a right diagnosis, for the sake of psychological affirmation. Same is the case with people with political background and the well-off ones. So, it’s quite challenging for the health sector to flourish in such scenario. I guess it is still in the budding phase and will build a fairer reputation with time. I also believe that people need to stop judging the entire fraternity based on occasional and ill-reported mistakes and evaluate each case sensibly and individually. 





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