DANG, April 25: Corona special hospitals in Dang have no place to keep corona patients. The lives of the patients have been at stake as the hospitals have run out of medical oxygen. There is only a limited supply of medical oxygen to this hospital from Nepalgunj. “What do we do if the oxygen is not delivered for one day?” Hospital manager Drona Oli asked, “I had requested the hospital to stockpile medical oxygen from time to time but my requests fell on deaf ears.”
Similarly, three government hospitals in the Lumbini Province, too, have no place to keep patients. The thread factory hospital in Butwal and Bhim Hospital in Bhairahawa had stopped admitting patients since a week ago. The condition of another government hospital in Banke called Bheri Hospital is even worse. The lack of beds in the hospital had forced the patients to lie on stretchers outside the hospital. As the dire situation of the health institutions continues, even serious patients have not been able to get admission in hospitals due to lack of beds.
In such a situation where patients are suffering due to unavailability of beds at government-run COVID hospitals, the government of Lumbini Province has stated that it has not been able to pay attention to the treatment of the patients. Chief Minister Sankar Pokharel announced through social media on Sunday that Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had assured him of support for corona control and treatment.
The message delivered by Chief Minister Pokhrael also stated that with the transparent case of the growing number of infections day by day, it is not difficult to understand that the provincial government is waiting for the help of the federal government. “We have talked to the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Health for further assistance to control the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Lumbini, including Banke. They have promised to provide assistance as soon as possible.”
However, as the provincial government has not taken any initiative even after the hospitals have been packed for a week, questions have arisen whether the provincial government will be able to handle the corona situation at all. “Patients are in need of beds at the moment, not promises of assistance,” Ramesh KC from Ghorahi said, “The chief minister proudly announced the PM’s promise for assistance but promises are not needed at the moment, beds are.”
Although all four government COVID hospitals in the province have stopped admitting patients due to the scarcity of beds, the provincial government has not taken any action to increase the numbers of beds in the hospitals even though patients are losing their lives. The government hospitals have stated that they cannot cope with the pressure of patients.
Many have warned that the provincial government's decision not to operate other hospitals as corona hospitals will only make the situation worse. But the provincial government replied that it was not possible to convert other hospitals to corona hospitals. The province’s finance minister and government spokesperson, Baijanath Chaudhary asked, “Where will the other patients be kept after other hospitals are made covid hospitals?”
Also, the government is preparing to increase the number of beds in the province. According to him, preparations to conduct isolations are currently underway. “Due to the increasing number of infections, the preparation to conduct isolations in Banke and Rupandehi are currently underway,” he said. It is not possible to build or operate a hospital, Chaudhary added.
According to him, a meeting of the provincial CCMC was held under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Sankhar Pokhrael. The meeting directed the chief district officers of the province’s 12 districts to raise awareness about the coronavirus. Similarly, the meeting also decided to build new isolation wards.
However, the process of building isolation wards has not started even five days after the decision. “I heard that preparations are being made for the construction of isolation wards in Banke,” Minister Chaudary said. According to him, the provincial government has decided to keep normal patients in isolation while only severe patients will be taken to hospitals for treatment. This will help to solve the problems regarding the lack of beds, Chaudary stated. He also said that the strict regulations at the borders will be a faster way to solve the crisis than focusing on hospitals, stating that corona infection had spread from India. “We need to focus on tightening our borders,” he said.
In addition, Chaudary said that there will be no shortages of oxygen in the province. As a result, the provincial government has not made any plans to keep a stock of medical oxygen supplies.