Kathmandu: The government has decided to set up a geriatric wards in four more hospitals across the country this fiscal year.
The geriatric ward will be established at Mechi Hospital, Janakpur Hospital, Hetauda Hospital and Karnali Province Hospital, according to the Ministry of Health and Population. The Ministry determined to expand the services in the hospitals with more than 100-bed capacity. The government established geriatric wards in 12 hospitals till the last fiscal.
Head of the Policy Planning and Monitoring Division of the Ministry of Health and Population, Dr Bikash Devkota said that the Ministry has decided to provide easy healthcare services to the elderly. Every elderly person across the country should get easy healthcare and the government is serious about this and adding the geriatric wards to more hospitals in the coming days. Although the government has directed hospitals to provide healthcare for the elderly population through separate geriatric wards, many hospitals do not have separate wards for the elderly.
Bir Hospital is providing services to patients from its general wards and cabins. Dr Kedar Century, the Director of Bir Hospital added they are unable to allocate a separate ward for elderly people but admitting them to the general ward or at times to the cabin as per the situation. Also, the hospital has not been able to spend the budget allocated for geriatric services. He said about 45 patients visit the geriatric OPD daily in the hospital. The geriatric experts say that elderly persons need geriatric wards with out-door patient service.
“Specialists dedicated to treating older people are needed as they develop specific types of neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia, Alzheimer‘s and Parkinson’s, among others. If there are geriatric practitioners in the health centers, it will help diagnose the disease sooner and start treatment accordingly”- said Dr Ramesh Kandel, geriatrician, ex-consultant ageing, at World Health Organisation South-East Asia Region.