ROLPA, Dec 15: Tussles between health workers and patients are not unusual at Pang Health Post in Lungri Rural Municipality. Patients vent out their anger against the staffers for the lack of beds, doctors, or medicines. Of late, new mothers are seen complaining about the lack of allowances. Even though they are entitled to get Rs 2,000 for delivering a baby at government-run health institutions, new mothers here have not received it for some time. Each of those who go to the health posts or hospitals for regular checkups during the period of pregnancy should get an additional amount of Rs 800. Women here have been deprived of that too. And for this, the local representatives and the authorities at the health post have been blaming each other.
According to Shalikram Gaire, accountant at Lungri Rural Municipality, the health post has not yet asked for the allocated budget. That is why the rural municipality has not sent that off. "If they ask for the budget, we are ready to release the amount immediately. But till date, I have not received any file asking for the money allocated for new mothers," he said. "Without receiving the file, I cannot do anything about it," he added.
The health post in-charge Damodar Pulami, however, terms Gaire's claim as "a blatant lie". Despite making consistent efforts for the allowances meant for the new mothers, the rural municipality has not released the budget, he said. "We have raised this issue time and again during meeting held at the rural municipality. Everyone knows about it including the health coordinator and chairperson," he stated. "Moreover, they decided to release the budget to every health post and institution, but it has not arrived yet," he added.
Under the 'safe motherhood' program, the government introduced such allowances long ago. However, deprivation of the same in different parts of the country has hogged the headlines several times. People had expected smooth delivery of public services after the federal set up and local bodies coming in existence. But the problems have persisted.
Even in Rolpa, there is not a single health post where the new mothers are waiting for their allowances currently. Health posts at Sunil Smriti Rural Municipality complain of the same. According to Motim Alam, health coordinator of the rural municipality, the process to provide the budget for safe motherhood to the health posts is underway. "It may take some time," he said. He admitted that health posts have not received budget for the last five months.