I have a fear in Kathmandu: having to be transported by an ambulance!
I came across the following scene on Durbar Marg last month and not the first time either! As a matter of fact, I have seen this regularly on the streets of Kathmandu! Of course, this shouldn’t be happening and this is the first reason behind my fear!
(Incidentally, the ambulance was able to move soon after I stopped recording.)
Traffic in Kathmandu is indeed atrocious (as well as amusing and bewildering). You can read more about it here, here, here and here. If, however, you want some light reading, i.e. satirical pieces, about everything to do with traffic click here.
The second reason is the “business model” of ambulance operators in the city!
— Dorje Gurung (@Dorje_sDooing) December 24, 2016
Apparently, ambulance drivers negotiate a “fee” for delivering patients to hospitals!
Whichever hospital or medical center offers them the most is where they deliver! The journalist exposed this practice by going undercover, pretending to be an ambulance driver and calling hospitals and recording the negotiations! The fee depends on the illness or injuries of the patients, some fetching more than others!
The investigative journalist, Pramod Acharya, who exposed this nefarius practice, is no other than the one who also exposed the intellectual bankruptcy of the two biggest universities in the country!
What DID happen was the editor of the publication lost his job over the article!
Turns out, some people involved in the medical fraternity can mess with the lives of sick people, but you can’t mess with the “medical mafia”!
In parts of rural Nepal, even basic medical facilities don’t exist. What does exist might be really far away. And because of that, patients succumbing to their illness or injuries owing to not receiving medical help on time is not unheard of. Turns out, the metropolis of Kathmandu, in a way, is no different, sadly.
So, imagine being in an ambulance, in Kathmandu, needing immediate medical attention…but the driver calling different hospitals etc. to negotiate a fee for your delivery, and then battling the traffic, just like any other regular vehicle, and getting stuck, regularly!
Would you not fear being in that situation?
What do you think of all this?
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Nepali Times (2014). Pay on Delivery.
Nepali times (2016) Pay per patient.