600 million doled out to hospitals and health institutes on ad hoc basis (Part 1)
Kathmandu, 15 May – Government has been doling out funds worth millions from the state treasury to even profit-oriented hospitals. Lokaantar has got hold of documents that reveal hospital managers receiving huge amounts from Health Ministry using their might and access.
Under Financial Year 2014/15, budget sub-heading no. 3701343, Health Ministry has distributed more than 600 million rupees to 43 different health organisations including hospitals, health centres, councils, groups and training centres.
Only a few non-profit health organisations are among such receivers of free-for-all distribution. Documents show that such a huge amount has been disbursed without any standard and procedure.
Health Ministry itself has accepted of distributing funds without procedure.
“Actually we had no basis to give out funds to hospitals,” Health Ministry Joint Secretary and Spokesperson Mahendra Prasad Shrestha told Lokaantar. “Those funds have been handed out for years on the basis of proposals submitted to the Ministry.”
He admitted that even for-profit hospitals have taken such money. “They have been receiving huge amounts of funds on ad hoc basis,” he said.
Last year Manmohan Community Hospital, Mahendra Narayan Nidhi Hospital, Kishori Prasad Nepal Community Hospital Palpa, National Kidney Treatment Centre and Dhulikhel Hospital among others took away fat money from the Health Ministry.
National Kidney Treatment Centre has taken the lion’s share of 70 million rupees while four others have taken 50 million rupees. Many other hospitals received more than 10 million rupees.
Lokaantar asked Manmohan Memorial Hospital’s Dr Arunmani Dixit about the rationale behind asking for government doles. He said, “We took government funds to build our premises and buy hospital equipments. We have been spending the money judiciously.”
Most of the health organisations have spent money in infrastructure rather than providing free or easy treatment to the public, Health Ministry officers said.
Former Chief of the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority Surya Nath Upadhyaya said, “This is a blatant loot of state treasury.” Upadhyaya said that he was aware about the practice of doling out money to near and dear ones for years.
Even Nepal Doctor’s Association and Nepal Civil Officer’s Wife Association have accepted money in such manner.
“Distributing state money in such manner without following any standard is an attempt to capture state resources,” Upadhyaya affirmed. “This is only the latest example of the tendency of exploiting state treasury and capturing state resources.”