Importance Of Health Care In Nepal

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Millions of people in Nepal die or become permanently disabled every year due to the lack of medical treatment. They cannot pay for costly health services or travel to and live in the cities where they are available. The accident of birth should not determine who obtains medical treatment and who does not. Medical treatment should be free at the point of deliver to every Nepali citizen.

I am saying this from my heart. I have been recently discharged from a hospital in London after an open-heart surgery. My son, a medical doctor, who has come here for my procedure, tells me that the procedure would have cost us between 15-50 lakh rupees in Nepal. I would have been reluctant to undergo the mitral valve operation if I feared that it would ruin
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This provision left 45 million people without health coverage. To remedy this situation, the Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare, has been enacted two years ago, which has expanded the Medicaid and provided subsidy for private health insurance for those low-income families that are not covered by it. The majority of health facilities work in the private sector.

Apparently, Nepal could follow one of these two – predominantly public and private -- systems. What system has Nepal embraced? The Second Long-Term Health Plan (1997-2017), the road map for the health sector, envisions “a healthcare system with equitable access and quality services in both rural and urban areas . . . [with] the concepts of sustainability, full community participation, decentralization, gender sensitivity, effective and efficient management, and private and NGO participation.” It also aims to spend 10 percent of the national budget in the health
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First the targets. The target of reducing infant mortality (34.4 per 1,000 births) has been attained; and under-five mortality (62.5 per 1,000) and life expectancy (68.7 years) are likely to be achieved.

However, providing essential drugs to all health facilities and equipping them with will not be met. Neither will be met the target of spending 10 percent of the national budget in the health sector. The spending in 2010/11 was only seven percent. Health facilities face acute shortage of essential drugs and service providers. Most hospitals and health posts lack qualified health professionals.

The most glaring failure of SLTHP is its lack of direction. It beats around the bush and makes all the politically correct noises. However, it does not tell us which route Nepal’s health service is hitting. If the government wanted the public route, there is no mention in the plan how it intends to provide and finance health

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