KATHMANDU – Minister for Health and Population, Mohan Bahadur Basnet has pledged to introduce in the Council of Ministers a proposal to increase taxes on tobacco products.
The Minister said this while receiving a memorandum from a delegation of Health and Population Department of the CPN (UML) today. He said that taxes from tobacco products would be spent for the medical treatment of those people unable to afford the medical cost.
“Now taxes on tobacco products fall behind the rates determined by the World Health Organisation. Once taxes are hiked, it would be costlier, leading to a potential fall in the consumption. But the taxes from its use would be used to develop a basket fund for poor and indigent community,” the Minister said.
Expressing his concerns over an exodus of medical workforce, he said, ” Doctors and nurses went abroad from Nepal are denied better payment and facilities.” He added that the government had already directed the entire health facilities to allocate 10 percent of beds for treatment of the needy, warning that the violation of the direction would be punishable.
The government is working to bring back to 800 employees under the Ministry who have been at different places on deputations. Department Chief and lawmaker Krishna Gopal Shrestha handed an 11-point memorandum to the Minister, calling for quality healthcare service to the citizens.
The demands the government properly implement the provision of 10 percent free treatment in hospitals, ease health care services for eight sorts of chronic diseases, make the health insurance programme effective, intensify the building of a basic health facility at 396 local levels, make dialysis and surgery services accessible, bring the Federal Health Service Act soon and promote safety of health professionals.
It insisted on the need of more government measures to prevent diarrhea, measles and dengue line health issues and proper preparedness for the response of water-induced disasters.