With a population of 135,000 people, Bajura has no private hospitals and only one government hospital, a primary health care centre, and 26 health posts. WHO recommends a doctor-patient ratio of 1:1,000, but here it is 1:150,000, while Kathmandu has a ratio of 1:850.
This is nothing new: Far Western Province has long faced medical staff shortages. According to the Department of Health Services Report 2018, only 80% of positions in health facilities were filled, and only 56 of the 142 sanctioned doctor positions were staffed. That number will decrease further after adjustment.
According to a list of adjustments of 8th level general practitioners (GPs) by the ministry of health, 36 doctors were serving in Far Western Province, but only 9 of them have chosen to remain. Of the 631 doctors at this level, as many as 326 chose the federal level, which means they are concentrated in Province 3. It is the same story in all other provinces. There are only 14 doctors in Province 6.
“Far Western Province has always faced a shortage of doctors. We have a lot of nurses, assistants, and technicians, and even if they are transferred there are others to replace them. But specialist doctors earn a lot in the cities and a government hospital cannot offer them as much. No wonder they do not want to stay here if they have a choice,” says Ramesh Kunwar at the ministry of social welfare in the province.
Poor health, Editorial
Henry Marsh returns to the institute created by his neurosurgeon colleague Upendra Devkota