Kathmandu, January 4
The Parliament today passed a bill on vaccination mandating the government to organise, regulate and make both government and private health centres responsible and accountable for issues related to vaccination.
The bill has provisions for listening to complaints and providing compensation to the general public, who are victimised due to administration of inappropriate vaccine.
As per the bill, if a vaccination service provider causes any damage to one’s health due to the vaccination, the former should bear the cost of treatment.
Similarly, if any one dies due to inappropriate vaccination, the vaccination service provider will have to compensate for the loss of life to his/her closest kin.
The bill has also mandated private health institutions to take prior approval before administering vaccine to an individual and if any institution is found vaccinating without permission, they will be penalized up to Rs 500,000 and their vaccination service will be closed.
An expert committee coordinated by a member of the seven-member investigation committee will decide on the penalty for the guilty ones and the amount of compensation to the victims’ family.
The bill has envisioned an eight-member National Vaccination Committee under the chairmanship of secretary of Ministry of Health to recommend to the government policies and plans on vaccination programmes.
Similarly, Vaccination Fund will also be established to collect funds for vaccination programmes.
Mukunda Gautam, chief of Immunization Section at Child Health Division, Department of Health Services today said the bill will help the government ensure an individual’s right to vaccination.
Gautam said, “It will be legally bindings for consumers, guardians and administrators to be responsible while administering vaccines.” He said the government has been providing 11 types of vaccines free of cost to children and pregnant mothers and except these vaccines; people will have to pay for other vaccines.
“If any private health centre wants to provide vaccination service to customers, they need to register the types of vaccines with the Department of Drug Administration as per the bill,” he said, adding, “If anyone is found to be evading the provisions in the bill, they will be penalised.”
He informed that currently Nepal government is highly dependent on donors for grants for vaccines.
He stated that 60 per cent of the vaccines are bought from donors’ grants and 40 per cent from the government budget.
Nepal has achieved huge success in vaccination drive among 10 Asian countries such as Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand and others, which are considered to be good at providing quality health services.
Thus introduction of the bill was very appropriate and timely to ensure quality vaccination and to regulate health institutions, he added.
A version of this article appears in print on January 05, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.