The Ministry of Health and Population has directed the health institutions to provide cost-free health treatment to the people infected with COVID-19 who cannot afford to bear the expenses.

Stating it would be against the principle of the hospital service and the code of conduct of health workers to deny access to health treatment to any patient for lack of medical expenses, the Ministry has instructed all the government, community, private and non-governmental hospitals and medical colleges to provide cost-free health treatment to those infected who can not bear the cost of treatment. The Ministry’s this directive comes in the context of complaints of several hospitals asking for fees while admitting the COVID-19 patients and denying health treatment services to those not able to deposit the amount and of some hospitals issuing public notice asking the patients to deposit certain amount for treatment.

Ministry’s ICS coordinator Dr Gunaraj Lohani, through a press release on Sunday, stated that the hospitals themselves would be responsible if the health of the patients of the targeted groups determined by the government are denied treatment and any adverse effect is seen in their health. He has stated that the Government of Nepal provides free health treatment to the poor and indigent, helpless, disabled and the senior citizens. A self-declaration by the patient would be alone acceptable for this. Dr Lohani also made it clear that the government would bear the medical expenses of the patients of the targeted groups. RSS