Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
Right priorities



SURYA MANI GAUTAM

While the politicians in Kathmandu are busy squabbling, 34 people in Jajarkot and Rukum have died because of diarrhea and dysentery. It's a shame that even in the 21st century people lose their lives because they cannot get treatment for easily curable diseases. This area also suffers from severe famine. The government has tried to address these problems but the efforts have not been effective because of a lack of commitment on the part of the political leadership. And now the death toll is rising.

This situation would not have arisen if the government had been attentive. Diarrhea and dysentery spread through polluted water. While the villagers don't have food, sacks of rice rot in the district headquarters. In order to effectively control this situation there is a need to not only provide treatment and medicine but also make provisions for food supply.

The health minister and high officials have already visited the affected areas but there have been no serious initiatives to combat the problem. This unfortunate condition is possibly the result of the lack of importance our politicians give to non-political issues.

Officials say that food and medicines are stuck at the headquarters because there is no way to transport them. But the government's priority should be to deliver medicines at any cost, even if that means chartering choppers. Security forces can be actively mobilised for the purpose.

The government has to make it a priority to address the basic needs of Jajarkot and other affected areas. The civil society and the international community should contribute when the government makes plans. We have to end a situation where people die because their basic needs for food and medicine and so forth are not fulfilled.



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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