Kalpana Poudel/ RSS
April 24 Kathmandu : Of the total 372 quake-damaged health institutions, only 200 of them have been prefabricated and 172 are yet to be reconstructed in disaster-resilient manner as we are a day away from the two year of Gorkha Earthquake.
According to the Ministry of Health (MoH), a total of 372 health facilities in various 14 hardest hit districts were recorded, of them 200 have been fabricated and handed over to concerned authority.
However, UNICEF put the numbers of the health facilities across the country sustaining either complete or partial damages during the 7.6 magnitude quake at above 1,200.
“Rest of the 172 health facilities are supposed to be prefabricated by the end of the current fiscal year but owing to various reasons, the target could not be achieved by the deadline,” shared Chief of the Public Health Administration at MoH, Ramesh Adhikari.
Many of the health facilities don’t have land of their own and were operating in rented space, said Adhikari, adding the untimely budget release and the lackadaisical attitude of the contractors have also contributed to the delay in prefabrication of the rest of the quake-damaged health institutes.
He further reasoned that the problem in prefabrication existed in absence of the government’s policy to purchase land by itself for relocation of health facilities into their own land. Add to that, the MoH does not have its independent engineering unit.
The survey conducted by the MoH sometime ago showed that around 114 health facilities in around 17 earthquake affected districts did not own any land of their own to build building.
According to him, 98 prefabricated buildings were supposed to be built by next fiscal year but the post-quake reconstruction drive lacks adequate budget.
Out of the 673 health facilities in the 14 districts hardest-hit by the Gorkha earthquake, 372 facilities including the district hospitals and health posts had suffered complete damage, 144 suffered partial damage and 157 suffered minor damage, the Health Ministry officials stated.
The government had started the construction of temporary pre-fab and permanent health structures in the most-affected districts with the objective of making the health services effective. The government started building these health structures in coordination with various donor agencies.
Two hundred temporary pre-fabricated buildings of various health institutions have been constructed in Gorkha, Dhading, Rasuwa, Nuwakot, Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur, Makwanpur, Kavre, Sindhupalchok, Dolakha, Ramechhap, Solukhumbu and Okhaldhunga districts.
Still, 100 more structures are yet to be built in these districts. District hospital buildings have been constructed in Gorkha, Rasuwa, Dolakha and Ramechhap districts with the support from the donor agency, KfW. Similarly, a district hospital building has been constructed in Gorkha with the assistance of JICA. Preliminary works have been started for construction of a building of the Bir Hospital and the Maternity Hospital in Kathmandu with JICA’s support, according to the Ministry.
The government has already signed agreements equivalent to Rs 7 billion with various donor agencies to rebuild health structures in the aftermath of the April 25, 2015 (Gorkha) earthquake.
Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and KfW, a financial cooperation based in Germany will directly pay the assistance amount to the government while the Ministry is authorised to spend Rs 500 million on behalf of the European Union in the rebuilding of health facilities, according to Ministry’s Chief Public Health Administrator Adhikari.
All new and repaired structures (temporary) were constructed with the support of donor agencies. Though the government has allocated three billion rupees in the budget for the current fiscal for this purpose, this is not sufficient, as Adhikari added.
According to Post-Disaster Needs Assessments (PDNA), Rs 17.49 billion has been proposed to permanent rebuilding of over 880 health institutions in 31 districts and to equip them with required medical equipment, furniture and other materials for the use of next five years. Likewise, some Rs 7.4 billion is estimated to cost for the improvement in the area of nutrition.
It is said there is a huge gap between the PDNA and budget received by the Ministry and it may take years to rebuild quake-damaged health institutes if it is undertaken on this basis.
Around 9,000 people had lost their lives to the Gorkha earthquake and its powerful aftershock on May 12. Over 22,000 people were injured in the disaster. RSS