Fuel, power crisis may halt City hospital services

Kathmandu, February 17:

Hospitals and nursing homes in the capital would be in real trouble if the irregular power supply and fuel shortage persists for two or three days more, so much so that a few ambulances have already been grounded.

Four vehicles of the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH), used for ferrying more than 1,000 staffers, do not operate services during the day time and only ply at night. Even three ambulances of the TUTH are off the road due to shortage of fuel.

“One ambulance has been ferrying doctors and other staffers,” said Dr Mahesh Khakurel, director general of the TUTH, adding that the hospital has written to the Home Ministry and

Ministry of Supplies and Commerce urging to put an end to this situation.

At the same time the flow of patients in the hospitals from outside the Valley have also fallen. Earlier, the hospital’s out patient department used to witness a long serpentine queue and issue tickets up to 400 patients on an average daily.

The government hospitals do not have to to bear the brunt of load-shedding as they have the connection of direct electricity lines.

However, the private hospitals and nursing homes are depending on diesel during the power cuts. Though they are operating with the help of generators during power cuts, the diesel shortage in the market is sure to affect them.

“Mechanical equipments and expensive instruments easily get depreciated and this affects the service of hospitals,” said Dr Bhola Rijal, president of private health institution. The day is not too far when the hospital services will remain halted if this situation continues, he said. Dr Rijal said the government should consider providing an alternate source of electricity to the private health institutions.

Shankar Oxygen Plant, which had supplied 600 oxygen cylinders a day on an average to the hospitals and nursing homes, just supplied 150 cylinders today. “We received 4,000 litres of diesel through the Ministry of Health and Population. We think the stock would not last after a month,” said Prakash Agrawal, employee of the plant.