Health facilities across the country without essential drugs

Published On: August 26, 2016 12:00 AM NPT By: Arjun Poudel

KATHMANDU, Aug 26: Health facilities throughout the country have been lacking essential drugs for over a year as the government officials have not shown any seriousness to procure those drugs. Due to sheer negligence on part of the concerned health officials, the government health facilities even lack emergency drugs like oral rehydration solution.

Primary Health Revitalization Division (PHRD) under the Department of Health Services (DoHS), which is responsible to ensure the availability of the essential drugs at health facilities, blamed the five months-long blockade imposed by India on Nepal as the main reason for the drug crisis.

“Due to various reasons, we could not procure those medicines during last fiscal year,” Achyut Lamichhane, senior public health administrator at PHRD, said. He claimed that the PHRD and the Logistic Management Division (LMD) could not purchase medicines as no foreign companies show interest to bid for the tender.

“We have to purchase medicine through global tender but no foreign companies showed interest to supply medicine last year,” claimed Lamichhane.

He conceded that the health facilities even lack emergency drugs like oral rehydration solution (ORS), which is needed to prevent the possible epidemics.

Dr Mohmad Daud, director at the PHRD, claimed that the division as well as the LMD which are responsible to supply medicines to the government health facilities, have already started the procurement process. “We have already completed specification, costing and estimation and have asked the LMD to start procurement process,” claimed director Daud.

Dr Daud, however, claimed that most of the district public health offices (DPHS), which have the rights to purchase 20 percent of medicines, have purchased the drugs on their own and distributed to the patients.

The LMD procures over 50 percent medicines and the Regional Health Directorates purchase 30 percent medicines. Every year, the Ministry of Health (MoH) purchases medicines worth over Rs 1.10 billion.

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