Government urged to treat corona patients in COVID hospitals

If most hospitals choose to treat only non-COVID patients, they might go out of business. Health professionals of other hospitals get infected because they do not take all precautions: Health Ministry Spokesman Jageshwor Gautam


Doctors say the government needs to seriously think about separating COVID-19 hospitals from other hospitals to prevent the risk of infection among frontline health professionals.

Senior Consultant, General Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Anup Subedee said if COV- ID-19 hospitals were not separated, chances of more and more doctors and nurses contracting the contagion would increase and a situation might arise that there wouldn’t be enough health professionals to treat critical COVID patients.

Subedee added that the government’s claim that the contagion had not yet spread to the community was an underestimation of the threat posed by the pandemic.

Epidemiologist and public health expert Sujan Babu Marhatta also said that there should be dedicated hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients.

According to news reports, an increased number of frontline health workers are getting infected.

“If we have to stop this, there should be separate COVID-19 hospitals,” he said He pointed out that Italy paid a heavy price for not separating non-COVID hospitals and Nepal should learn from that. He said the government should also provide ventilators and oxygen treatment facilities to all provinces proportionately.

He said almost 80 per cent ventilators were in Bagmati Province, whereas Province 2, which had the largest number of cases, was in dire need of ventilators.

“The government should establish oxygen plants in all seven provinces keeping in mind the rising number of COVID cases. The government should also procure more ventilators and set up more isolation wards,” Marhatta added.

Spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Population Jageshwor Gautam said separating COVID-19 hospitals would not serve the purpose as the number of COVID-19 patients was rising sharply.

“No health professional of Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, Teku, that has been treating COVID-19 patients since January has been infected with the disease because they follow all the protocols and take all precautionary measures. Health professionals of other hospitals get infected because they do not take all precautions,” he added. Gautam said separating COVID-19 hospitals would not help much in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic because no hospital was in a position to tell in advance who was suffering from COV- ID-19 and who was not.

“If most hospitals choose to treat only non-COVID patients, they might go out of business,” he added.

Gautam said the only way to prevent the spread of COVID was to trace, isolate and treat and the government was trying to do just that.

“People should venture out of their homes only if they have urgent things to do and when they go out, they should continue to maintain social distance and wear face mask,” he added.

Gautam said it was necessary to have more ventilators as they were needed for non-COV- ID patients, but providing oxygen therapy to COVID patients was more important.

“Very few COVID-19 patients who are put on ventilator survive,” he said.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on August 22, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.