Parliamentarians raise concern over Health Minister's absence in parliamentary committee meeting

Published On: January 23, 2024 08:25 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Jan 23: Parliamentarians have urged the Minister for Health and Population and his office to be sensitive towards their responsibilities.

In the meeting of the Education, Health and Information Technology Committee under the House of Representatives here on Monday, Committee chair Bhanubhakta Joshi raised questions about the decisions made by the officials of the Ministry of Health and Population.

Stating that the decisions made by the Ministry were courting controversies repeatedly, Joshi along with members of the committee expressed their displeasure over the absence of Minister for Health and Population, Mohan Bahadur Basnet, in the meeting.

The meeting ought to deliberate and review the half-yearly progress of the Ministry's programmes, details of the capital expenditure and efforts to resolve grievances regarding the Ministry.

Committee Chair Joshi repeated efforts to establish contact with Minister Basnet but to no avail. He further shared that two specialist doctors were sent to his constituency in Bajhang district after a lot of requests but much to the dismay, the Health Minister called them back.

Stating that the Committee's plenary meeting will be held only in the presence of the Health Minister, he directed the Ministry to present its progress report to the Committee.

Similarly, committee member Bidhya Bhattarai drew the attention of secretaries in the Ministry, Dr Roshan Pokharel and Dev Kumari Guragain, towards the Ministry not implementing suggestions and instructions of the Committee.

"We furnished 12 suggestions and instructions to the Ministry. How much could it implement? How long shall we keep raising questions?' she asked.

Likewise, another member Dr Toshima Karki demanded clarification regarding the accusations and grievances against Minister Basnet. "The Minister was absent from the meeting. He was not present even though he was asked to furnish clarification to the Committee over allegations against his performance," she said.

Secretary Dr Pokharel explained that Minister Basnet could not attend the meeting owing to his busy schedule. He admitted that there was practical difficulty in implementing the Ministry's programmes without ensuring adequate budget allocation.

Parliamentarians had asked queries about Ministry's efforts towards establishment of Basic Hospital and ensuring dialysis services for kidney patients, fee for health insurance, addressing human resources crunch in health sector, decentralizing healthcare services and efforts to discourage infanticide and suicide.

They also posed questions about the foreign visits of the minister and the ministry's staff.


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