TIKAPUR, April 3: Health workers deployed at several quarantine facilities set up by the government in the western region have complained of the lack of minimum protective equipment. As they have to handle even people potentially infected with the novel coronavirus, which is highly contagious, the lack of proper gloves, masks and thermometer guns has left them anxious.
According to the health workers at the quarantine facility at Janaki Rural Municipality, the masks and gloves they are using are 'sub-standard'. They do not have other equipment either. "We have been provided with digital thermometers. But in such cases, we needed thermometer guns," said a health worker.
Talking to Republica, Jit Bahadur Chaudhari, chief of the health department of the rural municipality, said it was not possible to arrange proper protective equipment for the health professionals. "We understand that there is risk, but what option do we have?" he asked, adding that health personnel cannot stop working just because there are not enough protective measures.
Chaudhari stated that the problem of the lack of personal protective equipment is across the country and is rather a worldwide problem right now. So, health personnel should understand this and work wisely during this crisis."We had wanted to purchase some sets of PPEs. But we could not get them," he said. "By the time we initiated the procurement process, there was already a crisis in the world," he added.
Health workers at different quarantine facilities in the district have been testing the symptoms of the novel coronavirus among the suspects through whatever equipment they have. So far, nobody has complained of fever or any other complications, according to sources.
According to Chaudhari, the rural municipality is still making huge efforts to have some vital equipment. All local bodies are desperately looking for the same. "There is high demand and low supply, it's understandable," he noted.
After India as well as Nepal imposed lockdown in view of the risk of the novel coronavirus outbreak, thousands of people rushed to their homes from their temporary addresses. Cross-border movement has surged dramatically in the last few days. Amid this, dozens of people have been quarantined at different locations.
According to one Khadak Ghimire, who is quarantined in Janaki Rural Municipality, there is no problem of food and accommodation. However, health-care system is poor. "They tell us to check our fever by ourselves. We may not be able to ready the results accurately. There are similar other flaws," he complained.
Sukhali Chaudhari, who recently came back to his home in Nepal from Pithauragadh of India stated that he had to live in a quarantine facility arranged by the government because of discrimination. "I had gone home but everyone treated me differently. It was not easy to face this kind of social stigma. So, I quietly came and stayed in quarantine," he reported. "There is no problem in quarantine, but the health workers seem little nervous," he added.