In the coming days, the Nepal Army aims to modernize and improve its health facilities. The Covid-19 pandemic has taught us a lesson about the importance of strong healthcare the system, so the upcoming aim of the Nepal Army will be to improve and enhance the health service it has received, staff Chief Purna Chandra Thapa said on Monday, reported The Kathmandu Post.

“We are preparing a long term strategy to enhance our health service. The execution will take time, but I want to set its foundation during my tenure,” General Thapa told journalists at a programme held at the Nepal Army headquarters. Thapa retires in September next year.

The national defence force has added three provincial hospitals in the last one year, ending the compulsion for its in-service and retired personnel and their families to come to the Capital for treatment.

Birendra Military Hospital in Chhauni was the only multi-facility hospital before the three military hospitals were built at the provincial level.

Besides, the Army is also running a 50-bed hospital in Nepalgunj. The hospital came into operation in August last year. Two other hospitals, also with 50-bed capacity, in Pokhara and Itahari were also inaugurated in March. The Army has also been operating two 25-bed satellite hospitals in Dhangadhi and Bardibas.

Similarly, Tri Chandra Military Hospital in Mahankal, Kathmandu, is offering dental and physiotherapy services from its new building, renovated after the 2015 earthquakes. Brigadier General Santosh Ballave Poudyal, an Army spokesperson, said the provincial hospitals are capable of treating all other diseases and disorders except for complicated treatments.

“The opening of the provincial hospitals have saved the trouble for many retired and incumbent service personnel and their families of having to travel to Kathmandu for treatment,” he said.

The Army provides free health services to in-service and retired army staff, their spouses, parents and children below 18-years of age.

Starting last year, the Birendra Military Hospital, with the support from Kathmandu Metropolitan City, has started free dialysis service for civilians. Brigadier Poudyal said the hospital is planning to procure additional dialysis equipment and expand other facilities.

“Besides operating hospitals, the Nepal Army has also been running health camps for civilians and ex-service personnel in different parts of the country,” he added.
The Army has used the money from its welfare fund to support healthcare services and extension facilities. As of last year, the welfare fund had Rs 38.57 billion as deposits in various banks, in addition to Rs 5.64 billion investment in different sectors.

General Thapa has been prioritizing civil-military relations ever since taking over the leadership of the 90,000-strong army in September 2018. Last year the Army held a week-long health camp in Mahottari along with the Ministry of Health and Population. 34,172 civilians, primarily from Province 2 and Bagmati Province, had benefited from the camp.

Along with providing general health services, the camp had also offered 329 surgery services. The Army plans to conduct similar heath camps for civilians in future.

*Tags: COVID-19, Coronavirus, Nepal, Health facility, Nepal Army. *

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