Risk of COVID-19 infection increases in villages outside Kathmandu Valley

Published On: May 24, 2021 08:25 AM NPT By: Pabitra Sunar

KATHMANDU, May 24: Although the number of COVID-19 cases is steadily declining in the Kathmandu Valley for the past few days, the number of people coming for treatment from villages outside the valley has witnessed a significant increase, according to the hospitals here. 

According to the Shukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, the flow of the infected persons has been decreasing for the past few days. Dr Sagar Rajbhandari, director of the hospital said that infected people from Dhading, Kavre, Nuwakot and other districts have been coming for treatment for the last two days. He informed that 16 infected people came to the hospital on Sunday from villages outside the Kathmandu Valley.

Similarly, patients from villages outside the valley have started reaching out to the Teaching Hospital. Senior pulmonary and chest specialist of TU Teaching Hospital Dr Niraj Bam said the trend of patients coming for treatment from rural villages of Nepal started some two weeks ago. Patients in critical condition from Nuwakot, Rasuwa, Kavre, SIndhupalchowk have been coming to the hospital.  

Dr Bam informed that many die on the way to hospital due to lack of timely treatment. Patients from these regions usually have respiratory problems. He said that the death rate of patients from rural villages is more than that of urban areas. “Many die before reaching the hospitals for treatment,” he said, “They don’t get proper care in the village and when they are brought to Kathmandu for treatment they cannot secure ICU and ventilators. People with financial constraints cannot afford the treatment at private hospitals and beds in government hospitals are not easily available when they need the most.”

According to the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), the infection rate is high in Province 1, Province 2, Sudurpashchim and Karnali Provinces. Dr Krishna Poudel, director at Epidemiology and Disease Control Division (EDCD), said the infection in villages of these provinces has significantly increased in recent days. He attributed this to the lack of management of quarantine, negligence to follow public health standards and violation of prohibitory orders.  People in isolation are not using masks at home causing further increase of infection as compared to last year. 

Samir Kumar Adhikari, deputy spokesperson at the MoHP, said the management of treatment due to technical constraints would be difficult if cases rise in villages. “Geographical difficulties and lack of health institutions for treatment will make it difficult to treat patients in such places,” he said.

Meanwhile, Archana Thapa, an epidemiologist, said people should focus on following public health standards and concerned government bodies should monitor compliance of home isolation. She also suggested widening scope of tests and making necessary arrangements for the treatment of the infected persons. 

The ministry has stated that the infection has spread across 50 districts. According to the statistics, the number of infections has tripled as compared to the same period last year. 


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