KATHMANDU: Resident doctors and nurses at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH) are facing stigmatisation as the landlords of their rented residences are asking them to leave their properties after a six-year-old from Kapilvastu, admitted at the hospital, tested positive for Covid-19, on Thursday.
According to National Resident Doctors' Association (NRDA) President Anup Upreti, healthcare workers are risking their lives to battle COVID-19 but they are unable to fight the stimagatisation, as people fear that the health practitioners may spread the transmission.
"Many health practitioners have been found to be staying at their friends' places after being asked to leave by the landlords. The stigma only continues to grow," added Upreti.
In this regard, doctors and other health professionals who are currently in quarantine for coming in contact with the infected patient are requesting the administration to ensure better management because medical professionals are facing eviction.
Health practitioners have constantly been requesting the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) for a proper quarantine plan for health medical professionals.
Similarly, many TUTH staffers, after exposure to the virus, are facing whole other set of problems. Suman Dahal, a general surgery resident at TUTH shared how things have already reached the tip of the iceberg with no quarantine facilities for medics while they face uncertainty with regard to how long they can manage without a proper place to live. "I live in a rented apartment and my landlords are elderly people. I don't want to risk their lives and peace of mind by going back. For now, I am staying at my friend's place," said Dahal.
For similar reasons, many TUTH healthcare staff members have been asked to vacate residences, even prior to the news of the Covid-19 patient surfaced. Dr Dahal also shared how his other colleagues, especially nurses, are asked to show PCR reports by their tenants in order to continue living at their rented apartments.
"Let us put aside the topic of landlords for once -- we could understand their fears given the lack of awareness. However, should not the hospital administration and the government take appropriate measures for accommodation of health-workers when they had enough time to prepare? Should they not have extensive awareness?" Another resident at TUTH shared this, pointing towards the ill-preparedness of authorities in handling the management of frontline workers in the wake of this global crisis.
Additionally, acknowledging the shortage of protective equipment in the country, Dahal suggests it is not adequate to conduct tests on primary contacts only. "The tests need to be expanded, and it is just not being done."
The six-year-old girl is currently admitted to the isolation ward at the TUTH.