Tuesday, 7 February, 2023

Surgeons suggest govt to upgrade manpower, services for free treatment of acid victims


By Nayak Paudel
Kathmandu, Aug. 23: A week ago on August 14, the Ministry of Health and Population directed 17 hospitals across the country to provide necessary treatment available in the respective hospital free of cost to the victims of acid attack.
The Monitoring and Evaluation Section of the Health Ministry had directed the hospitals to provide free treatment following a letter from the Office of the Prime Minister (PMO) on August 11 regarding the free treatment of the victims of acid attack.
The letter to the Health Ministry by the PMO was a result of the decision by the Law, Justice and Human Rights Committee of the House of Representatives on August 3 to make arrangements for providing free treatment to the acid victims.
As per the letter, seven hospitals — National Academy of Medical Sciences, Patan Academy of  Health Sciences, Mental Hospital, Kanti Children’s Hospital, Paropakar Maternity and Women’s Hospital, National Trauma Centre and Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital — of the Valley are enlisted in the directive to provide free treatment.
Likewise, BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences, Karnali Academy of Health Sciences, Pokhara Academy of Health Sciences, Rapti Academy of Health Sciences, Koshi Hospital, Narayani Hospital, Bharatpur Hospital, Dadeldhura Hospital, Bheri Hospital and Gajendra Narayan Singh Hospital are the ones outside the Valley directed to offer free treatment.
“The hospitals have been directed to provide necessary treatment available there free of cost to the acid victims,” said Keshav Raj Pandit, Senior Public Health Administrator at the monitoring and evaluation section.
The decision of the government was appreciated by the citizens but surgeons have suggested authorities that they improve services and deploy professional health personnel in such hospitals in order to provide quality treatment.
Cases of burns are serious and require immediate medical attention but as per the capacity of most hospitals outside the Valley, they can only provide initial treatment, they said.
“Initial treatment means providing adequate amount of fluids and cleaning and bandaging the wounds. After hospitals provide the initial treatment, they have, however, no other choice than referring the victim to the Valley for further necessary treatment,” Dr. Surendra Jung Basnet, senior consultant at the Burns Department of Kirtipur Hospital, told The Rising Nepal.
As the referral process and patient’s arriving at the referred health institution takes some days, surgeons argue that the treatment gap can deteriorate the health condition of the victim. However, acid victims lack enough economic support in hospitals capable of treating them.
“It is a good initiative to provide free treatment to acid victims but authorities should make sure that the hospitals can provide all necessary treatment by experienced medical professionals. Government can designate at least one such referral hospital for burn treatment in each state,” Basnet added.
Meanwhile, officials at the Ministry of Health state that it is upgrading health institutions across the country by extending services with more experienced and qualified medical personnel.
“For now the hospitals will provide basic treatment available there free of cost to the victims. Referred patients will be provided some economic support in the referred hospital as well,” said Pandit, who also added that the ministry will upgrade different health institutions in different periods of time as per its plans and policies.