On 28 May 2020, Finance Minister Dr Yubaraj Khatiwada announced a total national budget of NRs1.47 trillion (US$12.1 billion) for the fiscal year 2020/21. This budget is less than the ongoing fiscal year’s (2019/20) budget which was NRs 1.53 trillion (US$13.6 billion).
One of the main objectives of this year budget is to protect the lives of the citizens from all kinds of diseases and disasters including COVID-19. The Government of Nepal (GoN) has set out the following key priority areas for the prevention of coronavirus disease and improvement in the healthcare system:
- Protect citizens from all kinds of health risks including COVID-19
- Universal access to quality healthcare services
- Expansion of health services
- Construction and upgrading of health facilities
- Increase in the number of health workers
Health budget of #Nepal has increased to NRs. 90.69 billion (US$748.1 million) in 2020/21 from NRs. 68.78 billion (US$610.8 million) in the previous fiscal year #NepalHealthBudget2020 via @newsletter_php Click to Tweet
Here are the key points about the budget plan for the health sector in the fiscal year 2020/21 (2077/78).
- Health budget has increased to NRs. 90.69 billion (US$748.1 million) in the fiscal year 2020/21 from NRs. 68.78 billion (US$610.8 million) in the previous fiscal year budget (2019/20).
- To reduce the health risks of COVID-19, infectious and other diseases, and their prevention, control and treatment the GoN has significantly increased the budget in the health sector by giving high priority for standard healthcare, infrastructure development, medicine and equipment, and expansion of services provided by skilled doctors including health workers.
- To prevent further expansion of the COVID-19, the GoN has made the arrangement of the necessary resources in order to increase test in the high-risk areas, to establish additional quarantine centres with standard health check-ups, to delivery reliable treatment services, and to address the psychological fear of the citizens. The GoN has allocated NRs. 6 billion (US$49.5 million) to prevent the shortage of medicines, equipment and diagnostic kits that are urgently needed for COVID-19 control and treatment.
#Nepal Government allocated NRs.6 billion (US$49.5 million) for medicines, equipment & diagnostic kits needed for #COVID19 control & treatment #NepalHealthBudget2020 via @newsletter_php Click to Tweet
- The GoN has arranged the provision of incentives and the personal protective equipment to motivate healthcare workers. The GoN has also made arrangement for free health insurance up to NRs. 500,000 (US$4,124) for all healthcare workers who are actively involved in COVID-19 and other infectious diseases treatment and control.
Free health insurance up to NRs. 500,000 (US$4,124) for all healthcare workers actively involved in #COVID19 treatment and control in #Nepal #HealthInsurance #NepalHealthBudget2020 via @newsletter_php Click to Tweet
- Next year, a 300-bed communicable disease hospital will be constructed in Kathmandu Valley, an additional 250-bed ICU bed will be set up in the government hospitals in Kathmandu Valley and the province capitals, and a 50-bed communicable disease hospital will be set up in the capital of all seven provinces. Pokhara and Karnali Academy of Health Sciences including Koshi, Narayani, Bharatpur, Bheri and Dadeldhura hospitals will be upgraded as a specialised hospital. For health infrastructure development the GoN has allocated NRs. 12.46 billion (US$102.8 million).
- The budget has been allocated for the expansion of the capacity of National Public Health Laboratories to meet international standards, the establishment of the state-of-the-art health laboratories in all provincial capitals, expansion of laboratories required for treatment services in all health institutions, for the operation of diagnostic and pharmacy services and for the establishment of health desks with the necessary equipment for mandatory health check-up of those returning from abroad at the major entry points.
- As per the policy of establishing a general hospital of 5 to 15 beds at all local levels to ensure access to basic health services for all citizens, the GoN has allocated NRs. 14.27 billion (US$117.7 million) for the establishment of 272 hospitals. The GoN has also allocated the necessary budget to upgrade district and regional hospitals. Arrangement of one doctor per health facility will be started. The GoN has made arrangement for the transfer of NRs 5.10 billion (US$42.1 million) for the arrangement of doctors in the local level health facilities with the provision of basic health care services including treatment of non-communicable disease.
- In order to make health insurance available to all citizens within three years, 40% of the population at all local levels will be covered by insurance next year. Health services other than basic health care will also be included in the health insurance program. The GoN has allocated NRs. 7.50 billion (US$61.9 million) for the health insurance program.
- Maternal and reproductive health services including free health check-ups for the identification and treatment of diseases such as cervical and breast cancer will be provided from all local-level health facilities. Nutrition programs will be conducted by all health facilities. The GoN has made necessary budget arrangements for declaring Nepal as a fully immunized country next year.
- The GoN has allocated NRs. 4.22 billion (US$34.8 million) for free treatment of poor citizens including heart disease of elderly and children and TB, HIV/AIDS and Leprosy control programme. The GoN has also made an arrangement to provide free emergency health care to the poor and needy from the Central Hospital.
#Nepal Government allocated NRs. 4.22 billion (US$34.8 million) for free treatment of poor citizens including #heartdisease of #elderly and #children and #TB, #HIVAIDS and #Leprosy control programme #NepalHealthBudget2020 via @newsletter_php Click to Tweet
- Establishment of a medical super-specialist centre that provides specialised healthcare services including teaching and training in the study of Nephrology, Urology and other complex diseases under the Institute of Medicine of Tribhuvan University. An international level National Diagnostic Centre with state-of-the-art equipment and highly skilled health workers will be set up in the country to test all kinds of diseases including communicable diseases.
- The GoN has allocated budget for specialised hospitals including Sahid Gangalal National Heart Center, Paropakar Maternity & Women's Hospital, Human Organ Transplant Centre, Kanti Children's Hospital and Bir Hospital to provide satellite and non-satellite services to local-level health facilities with the services of specialist doctors. The GoN has allocated a budget for the operation of a reliable telemedicine service system for the sick in remote areas who do not have access to specialist health services.
- The GoN has allocated budget for the necessary infrastructure development of Manmohan Cardiothoracic Vascular and Transplant Centre, T.U. Teaching Hospital, B.P. Koirala Memorial Cancer Hospital, G.P. Koirala National Centre for Respiratory Disease, Sushil Koirala Prakhar Cancer Hospital, Ram Raja Prasad Singh Academy of Health Sciences, and extensive service operation of Bir Hospital in Duwakot, Bhaktapur.
- Adoption of a healthy lifestyle including a clean and balanced diet, physical exercise, and hygiene will be encouraged in addition to improved public health services to advance the Healthy Nepal Development Campaign. In addition to the promotion of Ayurveda including alternative medicines, and to enhance the immune system and promote mental health, yoga centres and fitness centres will be operated with the participation of local level and community organizations.
- The GoN has made an arrangement to use the private sector hospitals to provide services during disaster and epidemic with effective monitoring of their services. The GoN has also made arrangements that doctors from private sector hospitals need to provide mandatory specialist services to the District Hospitals and local-level health facilities.
- Arrangements to develop the Nepal Health Research Council as a body capable of conducting research including infectious disease control, to expand the capacity of Nepal Drugs Limited and to continuously maintain the stock of essential medicines in health facilities.
- The GoN has made arrangement to continue to provide free health insurance to the families of 52,000 Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHV) and has now doubled their transportation cost. Arrangements have also been made to run sanitation, health awareness and health insurance campaigns by mobilizing FCHV in collaboration with the local government and non-governmental organisations.
- The budget has been allocated to build the infrastructure of the Kanti Children's Hospital by adding ICU and to develop it as a Centre for Excellence for higher education studies. The budget has also been allocated for starting the treatment of children’s' heart diseases in Sahid Gangalal National Heart Centre including the purchase of additional equipment and construction of the building.
- Arrangements will be made to establish trauma centres in the hospitals' nearby highways with high traffic crash risk and the single national emergency care access number to provide easy and convenient ambulance service to the patients.
- A Regional Integrated Umbrella Act will be enacted to bring uniformity in the operation of health commissions, agencies, councils, research centres and hospitals. The budget has been allocated to review existing health care recruitment to increase the number of health workers, and to start the initial work for the establishment of the Centre for Disease Control, Food and Drug Administration and the National Health Enforcement Authority.
>> The information presented above is excerpted from the following source.
- Ministry of Finance, 2020. Budget Speech of Fiscal Year 2020/21 (2077/78). Kathmandu, Nepal. Government of Nepal. Ministry of Finance.