KATHMANDU, Dec 3: The government has decided to provide all medical services, including medicines, tests and beds, at select district hospitals free of cost. The move of Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), officials said, is in line with the concept of free basic health care services for all as mentioned in the interim constitution.
The Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has already allocated the budget necessary to implement the program. Officials at Primary Health Revitalization Division (PHRD), under Department of Health Services (DoHS), said that the program will be initiated at nine districts -- five in the Karnali zone and four in Far-west.
"The ministry has embraced the concept of basic health care services and decided to implement it," Madan Kumar Shrestha, a senior public health administrator at PHRD, said. He said that the division has forwarded the related files to the ministry and is awaiting approval. He informed that the program could be initiated only in nine districts due to budget constraints.
“The ministry had decided to implement the program in this fiscal year itself, but instead ended up freezing the budget in lack of preparation,” Rup Narayan Khatiwada, another official at PHRD, said.
Khatiwada said that the government was providing additional Rs 6 million to the selected district hospitals to run the program. "We estimated that additional 6 million would be needed to make the program viable at the district hospitals," he added. He also informed that the hospitals would receive additional financial support to develop infrastructures.
The MoHP has been providing 40 types of medicines free of cost at district hospitals since past three years.