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Sluggish pace in reconstruction of quake­ damaged health structures

Kathmandu, April 23: One year has elapsed after the Gorkha Earthquake rocked the country, but the reconstruction of the damaged health posts and sub­-health posts in the 14 worst­hit districts is not anywhere in sight.

The devastating 7.6­magnitude earthquake had damaged 1038 health structures in these districts. The government had promised to reconstruct the damaged health structures within one year, but that promise is hardly met.

The government had set the target of constructing temporary structures as per the reconstruction plan of these damaged health structures within a year. According to the Ministry of Health, only six per cent temporary structures of all the damaged health structures have been constructed so far in a year’s time.

The ministry has signed agreements with the different international donor agencies for the construction of hospitals, health posts and sub­health posts damaged by the earthquake in the 14 worst­hit districts.

In this connection, the Ministry has stated that it has so far signed agreements worth Rs 4.21 billion with 45 national and international agencies for the reconstruction of health structures. The Ministry stated that of this amount of agreements, Rs 1.51 billion is towards reconstruction of damaged health structures, Rs 28.7 million towards repair, little over Rs 2 billion towards health equipment and appliances and Rs 525.7 million towards restoration of health

As per the agreement, the temporary structures should be suitable for running of health services for five years and completed within six months. However, it is stated that the construction of the temporary structures was delayed as the construction equipment could not be brought due to the Tarai agitation and the obstruction of supplies resulting from the border blockade following the constitution promulgation.

­Three hundred and fifty­eight health structures were completely damaged by the earthquake in the worst­affected 14 districts. So far only 25 temporary structures made of prefab construction materials have been constructed. Similarly, 15 heath structures have come into operation following their repair and maintenance.