The Interim Constitution of Nepal 2007 recognises healthcare as a fundamental right of the Nepalese people. As at 2013/14, Nepal had over 4,485 health institutions, with 7,550 beds, employing over 93,000 personnel. In fiscal year 2013/14, 209,519 patients were admitted, 1,523,410 patients treated as outpatients, and 357,089 used emergency services in Nepal.
The total budget allocated for this sector is NPR 33.52 billion (USD 335 million), which is approximately 5% of the total budget. This figure has not changed much in the last couple of years. Capital expenditure allocated for this sector accounts for a mere 6.6% of the total capital expenditure in the last fiscal year. In terms of output, the average increase of output in this sector has been around 5% in the last few years.
The Ministry of Health and Population is currently implementing the Nepal Health Sector Programme-II. In this programme, the government focuses on essential health care services, such as population and family planning, safe motherhood, child health and child nutrition, communicable disease control, non-communicable diseases and injuries, mental health, eye, oral, and environmental health, and curative care. Although the country has made great strides in terms of the Millennium Development Goals, the state has not been able to invest much in this sector.
The Government of Nepal is prioritising this sector: a new health policy is in the process of being implemented and the government is committed to modernising health infrastructure. Similarly, it plans to engage in private-public partnerships to enhance the capacity of government hospitals. The government is also encouraging private investment in health. So far, private investment in primary and secondary health sectors has gone primarily to urban areas, especially the country’s capital. This sector has also seen some public-private partnerships in the form of community managed health institutions, service contracts, management contracts, and build-own-operate-transfer projects.
In terms of large physical infrastructure, there are 13 privately run medical colleges, 17 NGO-run hospitals, 17 eye hospitals, and 87 private research centres and nursing homes. Nepal has also experienced a rise in pharmaceutical companies and diagnostic research laboratories in the last few years.
Hospitals and healthcare centres
Opportunities exist in the heath sector for facilities offering:
- Emergency services on a 24-hour basis particularly related to neonatal and maternal health needs
- Centres of excellence and specialty for non-communicable diseases
- Specialty and super-specialty treatment centres targeting the domestic population, to capture the market that currently goes abroad, particularly to India, for treatment
- Centres combining healthcare facilities with tourism – medical tourism
- Pharmaceutical companies
- Most of the Nepali population are unaware of the existence of health insurance, creating vast scope for private companies seeking to cater to the uncovered population.
- There are persistent shortages of high quality drugs in the market.
- Most drugs required to cure or treat serious disease and conditions are currently imported from India.
: Government of Nepal, Investment Board
Department of Health Services (DoHS) - MoHP
Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP)