Editorial

Health Minister! Step Down!

Kathmandu : Sign of the health ministry’s utter failure in   controlling the Pandemic of COVID019 in Nepal is being surfaced. It has been difficult to avert the pace of expansion of the transmission due to the self-centered leadership of health ministry that understands the control and prevention of the pandemic and the treatment of the transmitted patients to be the same. For the last two weeks the process of contact tracing could not take expected pace to control the pandemic that has rampantly expanded in community level in densely populated urban areas of Kathmandu, Birgunj, Biratnagar, Chitwan, Rupandehi including others.

Instead of initiating a concrete strategy related to the control of the pandemic and treatment of the transmitted patients, the health ministry is busy terrorizing the mass of people through making a baseless subjective prediction that the pandemic will reach the climax by  14 September, the number of transmitted will reach to 3 hundred thousand, actively  transmitted to 38 thousand and the toll will cross 500. 

 We could not get an opportunity to listen to Health minister Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal’s good message about his effort in building infrastructure and awareness campaign for the prevention and control of the pandemic more than such unscientific predictions to terrorize people. The most interesting issue is that none of their predictions so far publicized by the health ministry could be proved true. However, the reiteration and speculation of such insensitive predictions are meaningful. A serious question of whether tetanus of financial give and take is dragging the leadership of health ministry has been forcefully raised among people. 

Anyone can claim that the authorities in the health ministry spend their months-long time in vain at a time when second or third transmitted cases were detected in Nepal after the transmission of COVID-19 expanded to outer countries from China since January 2020. Nothing could be done either speculating the possible expansion of the Pandemic in Nepal and making preparations for medical equipment, quarantine, and isolation centers during the period. Even the concern shown by our neighboring country, China to formally assist Nepal diplomatically was thrown to the waste bin. But to our surprise, the ministry leadership tried to show its attitude of involving in financial embezzlement seeking favorable companies like Omni at the first shot as the transmission entered the country and started intensifying its effect in Nepal.

The high-level Coordination Committee too proved itself incompetent due to such disputes and a mandatory situation created to give the responsibility of the procurement of medical equipment to the Nepal Army. The failure of the high-level committee comprising of the deputy prime minister and defense minister Ishwar Pokhrel and the health minister, Dhakal is the failure of civil administration. In the capacity of the senior-most ministers of the government they must take this responsibility.

On the ground the present scenario of the transmission of this pandemic in Kathmandu valley including other places anyone can say that the single effort of the health minister it is impossible to control COVID-19. Because of our dependency and socio-cultural affinity with India the closure of the border has been proved to be a formality. Moreover, more than 4 thousand vehicles ply across the border every day carrying vegetables, fruits, food, and fuel.

In the present situation of India where an increase of 1 hundred thousand cases of transmission every day is recorded, the act of prevention and control may begin only through the appropriate political and army mobilization in Nepal. And health minister has to fulfill the coordinative role. However, if we evaluate his activities of the last 6 months, there is zero presence of his role in this concern. Moreover, the health minister has a shortage of a team that can formulate policy, working plane, and strategy at present. That is why suggestions to install oxygen plants within the country to save the patients are shadowed, but the authorities do not hesitate to involve in more than a billion-rupee controversial tender in the name of purchasing a ventilator despite the sacristy of skilled manpower to handle it. To be limited in such an Adhoc role can’t be appropriate not only to the nation and mass of people but also to the health minister himself. Rather, it will be his prudence if he leaves the most for one who can present a concrete strategy and working plane along with political and administrative coordination.

The silence observed by the health minister taking the benefit of his affinity with the prime minister in the past and the irregularities, negligence, disgrace, and questions raised on the financial embezzlement within the ministry has raised a resinous question to the government. Questions are being raised ridiculously regarding the workings of the government that has almost two-third of the majority. Our country has not been free from the disease to see a state while enjoying the hot seat and to see people’s sorrow while coming down to the street. Moreover, the health minister is sure to maintain the highest record on this issue. Therefore, he has to renounce the greed of a slippery car and make the course to health ministry open for someone who can handle it wisely and skillfully. He has no option for it if he takes care of his future political course.  The prime minister’s attention should be drawn in this concern.  

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