VIPs On The Dole!



These days, top leaders are getting a bad press for their penchant to undergo medical check-ups abroad. They have come under public scrutiny because in most cases the state has to foot the bill for their expensive treatment. There is reason for the people’s resentment.

At home, the commoners lack easy access to quality health service. Nowadays hospitals have fixed the quota of patients for their medical examination. They witness serpentine lines of patients from  early in the  morning. But, all visitors are not lucky. Most of them have to return home without getting an appointment with the doctors. In most cases, they visit the private clinics with a heavy heart.

Even the quota provision has not lessened the flow of patients. There is a long and tedious wait for the patients before they are finally called into the doctors’ chamber.  When the doctors advise them to conduct unnecessary lab tests, it only grows their worry as it consumes a lot of money and time. This has been a common scene in the state-run infirmaries.

 This does not mean that the expensive or posh hospitals are without crowds of patients. Experience tells that the patients are not very happy with the doctors’ counseling even when they have to pay through the nose. But things get different if the VIPs are admitted to a hospital be it private or government. Top-notched doctors are quickly available for them. A big team of doctors get going to cure the VIPs with special care. This is a clear example of the Orwellian dogma that some are more equal than others.

Despite this bitter fact, some government and private hospitals have advanced technology and talented doctors.  They boast of medical facilities at par with international medical institutions. But a bunch of national dignitaries, known as bishista padhadikar, whot include former presidents, former prime ministers, ministers and other figures, have seemingly doubted the ability of our hospitals and doctors to treat serious diseases. They have developed a tendency to go abroad even for the treatment of minor ailments by blowing state funds.

The people have been pointing a finger at them for abusing their post and state coffers. As this trend went unabated, Bir Hospital repaired special cabins for the treatment of VVIPs two years ago with a view to stopping the flight of hard-won foreign currency. But no VVIP has enrolled in this cabin to this day. It is worth mentioning that former kings and other royalties used to choose these cabins and did not fly to foreign nations for their treatment. Ironically, democratic and republican leaders have given short shrift to these cabins and preferred overseas hospitals for treatment.

It is not unnatural for the dignitaries to visit expensive foreign medical centres if their diseases are not diagnosed and cured here. But the people have other reservations. The top public post holders- be they incumbent or former- must not use taxpayers’ money. They can visit the foreign nations at their own expense. There is no rhyme or reason for the government to be spending humongous amounts of money on them. This is because many Nepalese die a premature death in the dearth of basic drugs in the far-flung parts of the country. And taxpayers’ money should go to save these deprived citizens. It is a big irony that those who enjoyed power, post and perk get the hefty dole from the state while the poor and destitute have to reel under  grinding poverty.



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