Kathmandu: Nepali Congress General Secretary and former Minister of Health Gagan Thapa has said that political leadership has a narrow understanding of health issues and therefore media should play a larger role in clearing this misunderstanding. Sharing the experience of setting up Urban Health Promotion Center for the identification and prevention of diseases while he was health minister in 2016, Thapa recalled how difficult it was for him to make the locals understand the importance of the initiative. “Even today, political leadership does not think of health being something beyond the hospital buildings and infrastructure,” said Thapa. He also commented that media also fails to prioritize the issues. Most coverage is about promotions and transfers of officials, while there are other pressing issues to link with the direct needs of the people on the ground, he said.
“We need positive media to link community with health facilities and services,” he said.
While addressing Multistakeholder Interaction on Role of Media in Health Promotion organized by Nepal Live Group—publisher of Swasthya Khabar, Nepal Live and Nepal Live Today—in the capital on Friday, the former health minister said that media can contribute to health promotion in all aspects.
According to him, politicians at the local level do not yet take investing in health as a worthwhile investment. “Media need to spread the message to the politicians at the local level that if you invest in health it will have a great public and political value,” said Thapa.
A number of INGO representatives working in health sector, government officials and health professionals participated in the multistakeholder interaction.