BARDIYA, Nov 12: Public hospitals in Bardiya district have been charging patients against the government's free medicine policy.
In a recent incident, the guardians of Aditya Mallik, a student from Gulria-6, Bardiya were charged a fee of Rs 325 for treating Mallik's head injury.
This is not an isolated case as public hospitals that claim to provide free medical services, have been collecting fees ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 1000 from the patients.
Money collected in this way is being used for various causes, including incentives for hospital employees, as expenses for hospital development committee meetings and salaries for the central officials.
Laxmi Chaudhary, another resident of Gularia, Bardiya, also had to pay Rs 300 even after paying for all the medical kits required for treatment of her son's wound.
"We have to buy the medicines. On top of that, they are making us pay for their service. What kind of hospital is it which charges fees like private hospitals," she lamented.
The Medical Superintendent of Bardiya District Hospital, Ranjan Thapaliya, said that they are collecting certain fee to ensure quality service for the patients.
The hospital development committee's chairman Krishna Khanal said that they were compelled to charge patients to collect funds to pay the doctors that they have hired in contract basis as the government has not provided doctors as per the allotted quota.
Currently, only four doctors out of nine are working in the hospital. Service seekers had to wait for hours for treatment as the doctors needed to work on rotation basis.
Bardiya Hospital lacks specialists
Bardiya District Hospital has been employing medical officers as specialist in the absence of medical specialists.
Ranjan Thapliya, a medical officer, has been serving at the hospital as head of the hospital for the last two years. He is also working as medical specialist.
Although, the 50-bed district hospital has a quota for specialist doctor, so far, there is no specialist. This has deprived the locals of quality health care.
In the fiscal year of 2070-71, the District Public Health Office (DPHO) had decided to upgrade the hospital under the initiative of local political parties and a quota for specialist doctor was created.