May 25, 2021 04:27 PM NPT
ILAM, May 25: The local residents of Ilam district have been active in the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) disease following the second wave of the pandemic. While some are actively helping the patients free of cost, others are providing government hospitals with medical supplies and equipment.
The residents of Ilam and the local organizations including the district’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Nepal Red Cross Society have been providing necessary medical supplies and equipment to Ilam Hospital. Materials worth Rs 600,000 have been collected and handed over to the hospital under the initiatives of Niroj Khadgi and Ratan Chaudhary who are both residents of Ilam district.
As stated by Ishwar Chipalu, president of Illam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the materials are provided to the hospital in order to control the pandemic and treat the patients. “We will only receive treatment if the hospital has the necessary materials and supplies to treat the patients, so we should all contribute to help the hospitals in such a crucial time,” he said. Earlier, the association provided the hospital with five beds.
As stated by Niroj Khadgi, citizens should join hands to control this pandemic instead of looking at the government for help. “There has been a lack of medical supplies and manpower in Ilam hospital for a couple of years, it is about time we put our efforts to change that ourselves and persuade the government and the people’s representatives to do their jobs in order to save lives,” he said. He also said that his campaign which is called “Bandages for the pain in Ilam” is still underway along with more support. “Now it is necessary to persuade the government to mobilize manpower in Ilam Hospital. “It will be difficult to survive the pandemic if we don’t come together now,” he added. Under Khadgi’s leadership, health materials and funds for the hospital have been collected from social workers around and outside of Ilam.
Also, Karuna Foundation provided 500 antigen kits and three oxygen concentrators to Ilam hospital. The foundation had provided 500 antigen kits to the local level as well. According to Program Officer Prakash Ghimire, the foundation provided the Ilam district with medical supplies and materials worth Rs 1 million.
Similarly, Lekhnath Subedi, Arjun Bhattarai, and Sanjiv Rai of Tinchuli Institution donated medical supplies worth Rs 500,000 to Ilam Hospital. The district administration offices of Ilam and Panchthar provided the hospital with 15 units of oxygen cylinders with support from AP Hydropower Project. According to a local, Megnath Dhungana, Supermai, Sagarmatha, and Lower Jogmai Hydropower projects in the district have provided the hospital with 11 units of oxygen cylinders. Khanal Constructions has also provided the hospital with a suction machine. As stated by Bhesh Raj Acharya, the research and development institute had also provided the hospital with 15 oxygen cylinders.
A family from Ilam Municipality-7 donated medical supplies worth Rs 100,000 to Ilam Hospital. Also, the Sungabha Development Institute has announced to provide food for 10 days to the health workers stationed in the COVID ward and ICU of the hospital. A youth named Dambar Khadka had provided free vehicle service to locals of Ilam who wanted to return to the district from Kathmandu before the start of the prohibitory order. Currently, he has been providing the same service to transport COVID-19 patients to the hospital. The health workers stated that the help from the locals for the hospital has empowered them.
The district’s social workers, Suman Shrestha and Nirdesh Rai have also been providing vehicle services to the patients showing symptoms of COVID-19 in rural areas of the district. Earlier, the government of Province 1 had also provided Rs 1 million to the hospital for the control and treatment of COVID-19. A few days ago, the provincial government had also provided 10 oxygen cylinders and medical supplies to the hospital with the help of the federal government.
Ilam Hospital which has 50 beds has been lacking medical equipment and health workers for a long time. A ventilator was brought to the hospital only after the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The hospital also has a 2-bed intensive care unit (ICU) but the ventilator has not come into operation due to the lack of skilled manpower. At the moment, the ICU is providing high dependency unit (HDU) services to the patients. On Monday, the finance ministry allocated Rs 7.5 million for the hospital to construct an oxygen plant. According to the hospital administration, they have not been successful in bringing manpower to operate the ventilator at the hospital.
Among the 14 doctors at the hospital, there is only one permanent doctor (Gynecologist). There are two medical officers, three consultants, and three dental surgeons at the hospital. There are 59 vacancies for health workers at the hospital but only 27 of them are filled so far. According to the hospital’s administration officer Chitiz Khatiwada, the hospital currently lacks health workers more than anything. “We are compelled to provide services to the patients despite the shortage of manpower,” he said. “As more equipment is added, the hospital will need more manpower,” he added.