Top Health Officials in Nepal Rebuke USAID for Disrespectful Conduct and Dubious Reporting

Kathmandu, Nepal – In a scathing rebuke, top officials from Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) have taken a stand against what they perceive as disrespectful behavior and misleading reporting by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

In a dramatic turn of events, the MoHP has accused USAID of bypassing established government channels, presenting misleading data, and disrespecting high-ranking officials.

The controversy erupted during a review meeting held at the Yak and Yeti Hotel on Wednesday. The meeting, intended to assess USAID’s activities in Nepal over the past year, sparked outrage when it became clear that only Health Secretary Dr. Roshan Pokharel was formally addressed in the program.

Dr. Rudra Prasad Marasini, Director of the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division (EDCD), expressed his disappointment, stating, “Everyone except the secretary was insulted.” He further questioned the legitimacy of data presented by USAID-funded NGOs, highlighting the need for transparency and accountability.

USAID’s Opaque Operations Under Scrutiny

The MoHP has raised concerns about USAID’s funding mechanisms. Allegedly, USAID operates through two channels: one with government-approved budgets and another with funds directly managed by USAID. This lack of transparency has raised questions about the true extent of USAID’s activities and the allocation of resources.

Furthermore, the MoHP has criticized the inflated role given to various NGOs during the review meeting. These NGOs, funded by USAID, presented data suggesting sole ownership of achievements in areas like maternal mortality reduction and improved nutrition. However, the MoHP maintains that these advancements are the result of collaborative efforts by the government, international organizations, and local communities.

Secretary Pokharel, while acknowledging the importance of collaboration with USAID, emphasized the need for improved coordination and respect for established protocols. He stressed that “USAID funds are ultimately taxpayer dollars,” and their utilization should be transparent and accountable.

The MoHP has asserted its authority, indicating that future USAID programs will require approvals at all levels of the Ministry. This stricter oversight aims to ensure that USAID’s activities align with Nepal’s health priorities and are implemented with due respect for government officials.

The incident has cast a shadow over the previously cordial relationship between the MoHP and USAID. Whether this can be salvaged through improved communication and a more collaborative approach remains to be seen.

क्याटेगोरी : English, समाचार

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