The Ministry of Health and Population has earmarked Rs5 million to improve telemedicine services, which have been frozen for years.
The services, which was started in 2009 from 25 districts and following expanded to 30 districts, were suspended due to the impassivity of the concerned companies below the Health Ministry.
The ministry intends to begin the services over in at least district hospitals in the opening stage before developing them to basic health care centers.
“We will prepare working procedures, set up a hub in Kathmandu to provide consultant advice and procure necessary equipment to restore telemedicine services,” Dr. Taranath Pokhrel, director at the Curative Service Division under the Department of Health Services said. “The services will resume in some hospitals of remote districts within this fiscal year.”
As per Dr. Pokhrel, a central hub to give expert advice would be set up at the National Academy of Medical Sciences.
Consultant doctors, as well as professionals working at Bir Hospital, also the academy’s teaching hospital, will guide the doctors working at health facilities in remote districts.
As of to a lack of consultant assistance, patients residing in far-flung reaches of the nation are either denied of treatment or forced to visit big cities like Kathmandu, usually spending thousands of rupees, to seek medical aid.
Dr. Mingmar Gelgen Sherpa, a former director at the Department of Health Services, stated that telemedicine help would have been available throughout the nation and well advanced had they been maintained.
“Telemedicine facility is a boon to the country like Nepal, where consultant care is not available in remote villages,” stated Sherpa, who is also credited for introducing the services in the country.
Telemedicine services were famous when they were launched. Medical officers working in district hospitals in isolated regions utilized to consult specialists of Patan Hospital when required.
Dr. Sherpa stated that nations over the globe are adopting telemedicine services, but Nepal is dropping behind.
The government has also pledged to implement universal health coverage, which means guaranteeing health care path to all people and communities, without the hazard of financial ruin.
“The services should be affordable, reliable and of a high standard, which were impossible without reviving telemedicine services,” stated Dr. Sherpa.