STIDH says Health Ministry has taken no initiative to support
KATHMANDU, Sept 7: While the country struggles with its biggest ever dengue outbreak, Health Minister Upendra Yadav has been out of country since Sunday.
The health minister, according to his personal aide, is currently in New Delhi to attend a ministerial meeting of South East Asian Nations organized by the World Health Organization. This is something many within the ministry say Yadav could have skipped, given the emergency situation here.
According to Dr Sher Bahadur Pun, Shukraraj Tropical Infectious Disease Hospital (STIDH) – the only government hospital in the country specializing in this kind of disease – is facing a critical human resource crunch as some of the nurses and doctors there have also been affected by dengue.
The hospital continues to see a steady rise in the number of dengue cases, with as many as 250 patients showing up on an average day. The hospital has a normal capacity for handling 100 patients.
Asked if the Health Ministry had done anything to help cope with the dengue surge, Dr Pun said it has not shown any such initiative yet.
According to the Epidemiology and Diseases Control Division, over 4,962 people have been affected by dengue in 2019 so far, the largest recorded in Nepal. It is feared the number could go much higher as the infection has spread across almost the whole country.
Director of the Division Dr Bibek Kumar Lal said, “The current state of the outbreak suggests the numbers could multiply, as the weather conditions will be conducive for the dengue mosquito for two more months.”
Former health minister and Nepali Congress leader Gagan Thapa said that the federal government should have coordinated with the provincial and local authorities to tackle the dengue menace. “But I do not see that kind of seriousness at the center,” he said.
The story appeared in Republica on September 7 under headline: Health minister abroad while dengue rages on.