Karnali’s health strategy implementation is poor

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By Our Correspondent,Surkhet, Mar. 30: Three years have elapsed since the Karnali Province government prepared its health strategy. 

On April 4, 2021, the then Minister for Social Development, Dal Rawal announced the health strategy of the province. The strategy was designed to cover citizens who are out of reach of health services. 

It included plans, programmes and strategies to be implemented from 2020 to 2025. However, the implementation of the strategy seems to be weak.

According to the latest data, the people of Karnali have not been able to increase their access to health services. 

Various statistics still show that three-fourths of the people of Karnali still lack basic access to health. 

The strategic goal of the provincial government was to increase access to and use of health services among the out-of-reach groups. At present, the work has not made its progress as per the target. 

Although the target has been set to connect 100 per cent of citizens with access to basic health services by 2025, the work has not been done according to the target.  Due to geographical remoteness and poverty, the citizens of the areas do not have access to basic health services. 

According to the Province Planning Commission's mid-term expenditure structure book, only 57 per cent of the citizens have access to basic health services in Karnali.

Buddhi Bahadur Khatri, Administrative Officer of the Commission, said that as per data taken from the Ministry of Social Development and the agencies under the Ministry only 57 per cent of the citizens have access to general health. 

A total of 43 per cent of the citizens have no access to basic health services, according to the commission’s data.

Yogendra Shahi, Vice-Chairman of the Planning Commission, said that the programme has not been implemented as per the health strategy formulated by the province government.

He further said that the strategy has been stuck due to a lack of policy, programme and budget allocation as per the strategy.

However, the Ministry of Social Development has stated that work is being carried out in accordance with the Health Strategy 2077 BS.

Brish Bahadur Shahi, Senior Public Health Administrator at the Ministry, said that the programme has been focused on the state's health strategy. 

Work is being carried out in coordination with the local government, he added. Community health units have been expanded, basic hospitals are being constructed at the local levels and health programmes are also being carried out with the help of various organisations, he said.

A survey conducted a  few years ago showed that 76 per cent of Karnali people have no access to basic health services. Only 24 per cent of households have access to the nearest government health facility. 

Only 24 per cent of households in Karnali province have access to the nearest government health facility within a walking distance of 30 minutes. 

Similarly, 4 per cent of households have access to the nearest government health facility at a walking distance of 30 to 60 minutes, while 29 per cent of households have access to government health facilities at a walking distance of more than 60 minutes.

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