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Is Prasuti Griha neglecting its women?

Anushka Nepal

Anushka Nepal

Is Prasuti Griha neglecting its women?

With slow and inefficient services, the only government-run maternity and women’s hospital in Nepal makes patients wait for hours for even the most basic of services or refers them to Bir Hospital

Outside the emergency at Prasuti Griha, the only government maternity and women’s hospital, there is always a long line of patients, mostly pregnant women, in urgent need of attention. They will have to wait a couple of hours till someone eventually attends to them. Sadly, this is not the  worst of the problems there. 

On any given day, women line the corridors and sit on the staircases as they wait their turn for an ultrasound or for their test results. Dr Abhishek Shah, consultant radiologist at the hospital, says about 300 patients get ultrasounds every day. “The average wait-time is three to four hours,” he says.

According to the 59th Auditor General’s report for the fiscal year 2021/22, 4,200 patients were referred to Bir Hospital for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). The facility isn’t available at the hospital. The report states there is only one ultrasound machine at the hospital.. It also lacks a 24 hours x-ray service in the neonatal department.

Reports routinely get exchanged. This causes issues with people’s treatments, states the auditor’s report. The hospital lacks IVF services. It’s been 10 years since they stopped it citing budget constraints. Couples dealing with infertility have nowhere to go for low-cost treatment.

Prof Dr Amir Babu Shrestha, Prasuti Griha’s director, denies there’s a problem. He claims the hospital has multiple ultrasound machines. He adds they don’t need an MRI machine, that there are hardly two or three cases every month in need of MRI scanning. The number of referrals to Bir Hospital, however, paints a different picture.  

The auditor’s report clearly states the hospital needs more equipment. It also suggests working on providing better services to its patients. The management is quick to brush off the recommendations and insists it is doing its best. But it’s clearly not enough.