Kathmandu, Nov. 11: Almost all political parties have given priority to health issues in their election manifestos published to attract voters for the House of Representatives (HoR) and Provincial Assemblies elections.
However, some of the health issues raised are impractical promises and some are already implemented. They have committed that the agendas will be implemented if they win the elections.
The Nepali Congress has raised issues of health with high priority and has included 23 points. Of them, some issues raised have been implemented and some are yet to be implemented.
NC has included health agendas in its manifesto with the slogan ‘Easy access to quality health services, health insurance for all and a robust health system’. It has been mentioned that free treatment will be arranged for children under three years of age and senior citizens above 73 years of age.
At present, the government is providing Rs. 100,000 for the treatment of chronic diseases. The NC has assured for providing the health insurance for all citizens and treatment of chronic diseases through insurance within five years.
Hospitals which were providing health insurance have stopped the health insurance scheme as the government failed to reimburse the amount.
The NC manifesto includes establishment of basic health centres within five years in remaining 2,600 wards without health institutions, primary hospitals with specialist doctors in all villages and municipalities, and hospitals with specialist services in all sub-metropolitan municipalities and metropolitan cities, which are not new programmes.
The NC has announced that the concept of one health worker and one health institution will be implemented within five years by providing 100 per cent incentive allowance to the existing service facilities of doctors, nurses, and health workers.
The manifesto of NC mentioned that the maternal mortality rate, which is 236 at present, will be dropped to 80 in every 100,000 live births over the next five years. The NC has also made a commitment to lessen the burden of non-communicable diseases, which is 71 per cent of total deaths at present, to one-third.
The CPN - (Unified Socialist) has released a manifesto mentioning that initiatives will be taken for free kidney transplants, which have been implemented. Patients are already getting free kidney transplant services. The party has also announced to take initiatives to make dialysis services free. However, the government already made dialysis services free for patients with kidney failure.
The party has mentioned that it will take initiatives to make dialysis service free. However, the government has also made dialysis service free. Currently, dialysis service is being provided free of cost for patients with kidney failure.
The manifesto published by CPN-UML includes 12 points on health. The current agenda of health issues and the manifesto issued by UML in the 2074 HoR and Provincial Assembly elections are the same.
There are old slogans such as health insurance and effective treatment for all citizens by implementing a health insurance programme across the country, free examination and treatment of patients with eight types of severe diseases determined by the government including cancer, kidney, and heart.
Apart from these, giving free diabetes and high blood pressure medicines to the elderly above 60 years of age and arranging sanitary pads for women are new schemes. Agendas like building hospitals in villages and municipalities, reducing the child mortality rate to zero were also included in the manifesto of the Left Alliance in 2074 B.S.
Similarly, in the manifesto released by the Maoist Centre, they have promised to make the health sector advanced so that foreign citizen come Nepal for receiving treatment.
In the manifesto, the Maoist Centre has mentioned that every municipality will fund for producing a doctor and a nurse.
Mental health and wellbeing should be a top priority for all political parties
heading into the HoR and Provincial Assemblies election to be held on November 20.
Nepal is facing a mental health crisis and patients are reporting barriers to access of mental health services.
The ruling party that comes into power following the election must work on mental health issues. As per a study carried out by the Nepal Health Research Council, about 13 per cent of the population suffers from some form of mental disorder in their lifetime. However, no prominent political parties have included mental health issues in their manifestoes.
Rastriya Swatantra Party, a newly registered outfit, has prioritsed mental health issue in its manifesto. The party has assured that it will raise awareness about mental health problem and has made commitment for its treatment and prevention.