KATHMANDU, Nov 20: The government has said it is ready to provide necessary health services at the polling booths in the upcoming federal parliament and provincial assembly elections scheduled for November 26 and December 7.
The first phase of elections in 32 districts will be held on November 26 while the polls in the remaining 45 districts will be held on December 7. According to the Election Commission (EC), there are 15,427,731 eligible voters for the upcoming elections to be held in about 18,000 polling stations across the nation.
“We have formed a national-level team to facilitate health services during the polls,” said Dr Shree Krishna Giri, spokesperson at the Ministry of Health (MoH). “We are ready to mobilize the rapid response teams from the respective local units in the upcoming elections,” he said.
According to the MoH, the team led by a specialist, Dr Binod Man Shrestha, includes departmental chiefs at the central level. The central team will coordinate with the provincial level to provide health services in the local units of all the provinces, said sources at the MoH.
A total of 165 members of parliaments will be elected under the first-past-the-post electoral system, and 330 members to the provincial assemblies while under proportional representation, 110 will be elected in central parliament and 220 in provincial assemblies.
There are more than 4,000 government health facilities with about 35,000 health workers including 1,500 medical doctors across the country, according to the MoH.
“We have directed the health facilities and workers nearby polling stations to be ready for the elections for providing health services,” said Dr Giri. “The health facilities will have medicines, necessary equipment, health workers and required utilities to provide emergency services at the polling stations,” he added. “The health workers will not be allowed to take leave during the polls unless it is unavoidable.”
Dr Giri further said that they will also cooperate with the private medical colleges and nursing homes to provide health services to the polling stations. “There are about 15,000 to 20,000 health professionals in these institutions across the country,” he added. “We can also get their help for the emergency services if required.”