BAGLUNG, Jan 16: Hari Maya Bohara of Amalachour went to Dhaulagiri Zonal Hospital in Baglung for treatment of urine infection on the referral of a health assistant at the Primary Health Center (PHC), Kushmishera. But she had to make do with an appointment with health assistant Ram Prasad Khanal at the zonal hospital.
“Forget about consultation with the doctor, I couldn´t even see one. I had to receive treatment from the health assistant after not finding anyone at the OPD,” Bohora said. The PHC should have had a doctor, but a health assistant has been treating the patients as no doctor has been appointed there.
Bohara then went to the zonal hospital that has 21 posts for doctors. The hospital, which sees around 200 patients daily, has posts for consultant surgeon, gynecologist, physician, dermatologist, orthopedic surgeon, pediatrician, ENT specialist, anesthetist, pathologist and radiologist but there are just two doctors at the hospital.
Assistant health workers and health assistants have been treating patients there due to lack of doctors. “We treat the patients due to lack of doctors,” health assistant Khanal conceded. “We admit serious patients and seek doctor´s consultation,” Khanal added.
Patients have been suffering at the zonal hospital due to inadequate services. The hospital was upgraded into a zonal hospital from district hospital three years ago but it has always remained undermanned.
Patients from Parbat, Myagdi, Baglung and Mustang districts in the zone are being forced to spend a lot to travel to Pokhara and Kathmandu for treatment due to lack of specialists at the zonal hospital. Even minor cases are routinely being referred to Pokhara.
“We have not been able to make the services effective due to lack of doctors,” conceded hospital Chief Dr Tarun Poudel. The Hospital Development Committee blamed the Department of Health Services for not sending doctors as per the posts.
Health centers in eastern region in shambles
People in the eastern region are also suffering due to lack of health officials even as a large number of cold wave patients are being admitted to the hospitals everyday.
There are no medical superintendents in 17 hospitals in the region, according to the Regional Health Directorate, Dhankuta.
There is a shortage of 685 health workers in the region including officials, health assistants and assistant health workers. Similarly, PHCs in Dhulabari, Sanischare, Shivgunj, Surunga, Khajurgachhi and Baniyani of Jhapa district also don´t have a doctor.