Hospitals stop admitting COVID-19 patients as govt sets quota on oxygen cylinders

Published On: May 12, 2021 11:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, May 12: After the government set quotas on oxygen cylinders to be provided to hospitals, various hospitals said they could not admit more COVID-19 patients. The problem arose after the COVID-19 Crisis Management Center (CCMC) set a daily quota of oxygen cylinders for hospitals, saying the demand for oxygen had increased across the country but the supply was not enough. The shortage of medical oxygen started at the hospitals after the CCMC decided to fix the quota on Sunday saying that it will provide oxygen to hospitals across the country based on the data of the Ministry of Health and Population.

Some big hospitals in Kathmandu have said that it is not possible to admit new patients infected with COVID-19 due to the lack of adequate medical oxygen and it may be difficult to treat even the already-admitted patients. Nepal Mediciti Hospital in Lalitpur said in a statement on Tuesday that even though the hospital currently needs 450 to 500 cylinders a day, the government has stated that it will provide 100 cylinders daily under the quota.

Stating that it is currently treating more than 100 non-COVID and more than 120 COVID patients, the hospital said that there was a lack of oxygen in the treatment of more than 40 patients on ventilators. The hospital has said that it will issue another notice after the supply of oxygen and other supplies is eased.

Similarly, Nepal Medical College also issued a notice on Tuesday stating that it was preparing to discharge COVID patients being treated at the hospital due to the lack of oxygen. The medical college has said that the relatives of the patients have been informed to manage oxygen on their own as the oxygen available at the hospital could hold till 4 PM, Tuesday.

The hospital has informed the Ministry of Health and Population, Gokarneshwor Municipality, Police and other agencies that it is about to discharge the patients due to the lack of oxygen. 

Moreover, Medicare Hospital Limited, Nepal-Bharat Maitri Hospital, Dirghayu Guru Hospital and Research Center and Helping Hands Community Hospital have stated that corona patients cannot be admitted due to the lack of medical oxygen.

The government said quotas need to be set to manage the current shortage of oxygen. The CCMC has claimed that it has made such a decision for the proportional distribution of oxygen to all. CCMC secretary Khagraj Baral said that quotas have been set to manage the current oxygen crisis. “The decision was made to ensure that oxygen could be delivered to all during the crisis and that no one would store extra,” he said, adding that the quota will be lifted once oxygen becomes easily available.

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