Rs 6.0 billion for coronavirus control; Rs 12 billion for health infrastructure

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Kathmandu - A budget of Rs 6 billion has been appropriated for the prevention and control of COVID-19. Presenting the federal budget for the fiscal year 2020/21 at the parliament today, Finance Minister Dr Yubaraj Khatiwada said the budget was allocated for the drugs, medical appliances and treatment aid immediately required for the prevention and control of coronavirus infection. Necessary arrangement has been made for the setup of quality quarantine service to widen the coverage of testing in high risk areas, delivering reliable health services and addressing psychological fear among the citizens. So far coronavirus has infected 1,042 people and claimed lives of five persons in the country.

Personal Protective Equipment and incentive allowance have been arranged for doctors, health workers and laboratory employees for boosting their motivation to the service. The budget has made arrangement of free health life insurance up to Rs 500,000 for all health workers serving against coronavirus and other contagious diseases. Likewise budget has been allocated for the establishment of a separate 300-bed well-equipped infectious disease hospital in the Kathmandu Valley. The budget also includes a plan for the establishment of additional 250-bed intensive treatment unit in public hospitals in and outside the Valley and operation of 50-bed infectious disease hospital in all state capitals.

The Pokhara and Karnali Institute of Health Sciences and Koshi, Narayani, Bharatpur, Bheri and Dadeldhura hospitals would be upgraded and gradually developed as specialist hospital, the budget speech reads. Meanwhile, the government has appropriated Rs 12.46 billion for the development of health infrastructure. Dr Khatiwada highlighted that the capacity of the National Public Health Laboratory Teku would be enhanced to level up its service of the international standards. The budget has also envisaged establishing well-equipped health laboratory in all state capitals, expand necessary labs in all health facilities and establish disease remedy and pharmacy as well as set up health desk with necessary equipment at main entry points in the states for compulsory health examination of abroad returnees.

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National News Agency, Nepal

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