Kathmandu, Apr 29:
The pace of progress being achieved by Nepal in relation to Millennium Development Goal (MDG) is likely to be slowed due to the insufficient allocation of budget.
Health officials said that this is sure to affect quality service delivery.
The Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has been proposing 10 per cent budget allocation for health sector of total budget for some years.
Last year a total of 24 billion rupees (seven per cent of the total budget) was allocated for health sector.
The Ministry of Finance has put a ceiling of 27 billion rupees in the health sector for this year.
Dr. Baburam Marasini, programme coordinator of Health Sector Reform under the Ministry of Health and Population, said the MoHP would be unable to launch any new programmes in existing budget conditions.
The allocated budget is insufficient even to meet pays and perks of the employees and operational costs of institutions, Dr. Marasini said.
According to an assessment of the National Planning Commission, a budget of around 70 billion rupees was needed to meet MDG 2015.
However, the government has failed to allocate half of the estimated amount.
In line with the MDG, the government has targeted to lower maternal mortality, child mortality, and neonatal mortality rates and increase the coverage of nutrition.
So far, Nepal is on the right path towards the MDG goal. Some compact and comprehensive programme is needed for further achievement. However, insufficient budget may hinder the progress, Dr. Marasini added.
Still 65 per cent women can not visit health institutions during delivery.
The MoHP had targeted to extend safe motherhood programme, launch mental health programme and nutrition coverage programme, decrease disparity in health access among urban and rural population during this year. However, due to budget constraints, all these programmes would be affected, Dr. Marasini said. On the other side, the government has not added a single position in health sector manpower in the last 21 years.
The MoHP had proposed an increase of 15,000 posts of health manpower during three years some months ago. The proposal is lying idle in parliament.