September 7, 2019 08:00 AM NPT
By: Rekha Bhusal
BUTWAL, Sept 7: Pyuthan District Hospital received the permission to have 50 beds three years ago. However, the congested and dilapidated building of the hospital does not have more than 25 beds. Though it has a quota for eight doctors, the hospital is dependent on just three doctors for long now. The absence of pediatrician, gynecologist, orthopedic surgeon and general surgeon, among the health experts of the other sectors fall hard on service seekers. The hospital does not have even an accountant which has affected the purchase of drugs and necessary equipment.
Over 200 patients visit the hospital daily. They come even from the remote villages of the western part of Arghakhachi and the eastern part of Rolpa. However, many get disappointed as the beds are few.
"We don't have the capacity to give service to everyone. We say sorry to many though they come from remote areas," said Dr Sheshraj Ghimire, acting medical superintendent of the hospital. "Due to the lack of human resources, necessary infrastructures and equipment, we cannot function like a district hospital," he added.
According to Ghimire, more than half the patients are referred to Butwal. The hospital has become more like a referring center rather than a hospital.
Similar is the case of the Bardiya District Hospital. There are only three doctors who handle dozens of patients every day. "We don't have health experts except three. And they are not enough to cater to the needs of different types of patients," reports Dr Subash Pandey, medical superintendent of the hospital. "There are a total of 59 quotas for employees and now we have just 32 employees. Because we are not efficient, we refer patients to private health facilities," he added.
Both the hospitals are also feeling the brunt of the employee adjustment process. As the government made it mandatory for employees to take transfer, a number of staffers and doctors from the hospitals left for other destinations. And their replacements haven't been found.
Arghakhachi District Hospital has 36 beds. It also lacks health experts like gynecologist, pediatrician, general surgeons and orthopedic doctor, among others. According to the medical superintendent Dr Jagannath Tiwari, the hospital is also working more as a referral center rather than a hospital.
"What else could be done? Had there been all facilities and enough doctors, we would not send a single patient outside," he said. "You can look at the hospital, how small it is. There are not enough rooms, no space, the walls leak, the windows lack locks," he added.
Tiwari isn't exaggerating. During rainy days, the doctors halt service in the view of the leakages in the rooms.
Palpa District Hospital doesn't have any better condition either. The authorities here recount similar stories.
Kapilvastu District Hospital often keeps two patients in a single bed. And yet, many patients are returned home without treatment due to the lack of space and efficiency. According to Dr Kishore Banjade, medical superintendent of the hospital, patients are kept in the corridor as well. "In the corridor, at porch, outside, patients are kept that way as we don't have space," he said. He added that patients from the district go to Butwal, Bhairahawa and even India for treatment.
The condition of Rolpa district hospital is pathetic, too. Patients from Rolpa visit Surkhet, Banke, Butwal etc for treatment. According to Dr Anil KC of the hospital, the government has not paid heed to the problem even though the situation has been reported several times.
District hospitals across the country, except a few, rely on the same old infrastructures and the same number of employee quota. This is a testimony to the government's apathy toward the health sector.