Kathmandu, March 28

Hospitals outside Kathmandu valley lack testing kits, manpower, infrastructure and necessary equipment to treat suspected coronavirus patients.

As of today, the infection has been seen in five persons of whom two are from Kailali and Baglung districts. The health ministry has said there could be a number of cases outside the capital.

However, even as the number of cases increase, hospitals outside the capital are hardly facilitated with manpower, infrastructure and necessary equipment. As such, doctors and health workers outside the capital say it will be difficult for them to treat patients with limited equipment and infrastructure.

“We don’t have sufficient personal protective equipment with us. As the number of cases rise, it will be difficult for us to treat patients. There is shortage of PPE. We also lack N95 masks. We fear we will be infected,” said Dr Rudra Bhandari, medical officer at Lumbini Provincial Hospital.

“If there is rise in the number of cases, it will be difficult for us. There are limited isolation beds, limited personal protective equipment and also the infrastructure is not appropriate. There is no proper supply of oxygen. Intensive care units and ventilators are also limited. We have only two ventilators. We can’t treat patients without personal protective equipment,” said Dr K N Poudel, consultant physician at Karnali Province Hospital.

“There are two patients in isolation in our hospital. Their reports are awaited. We have been asking about their health condition through phone. We can’t go and meet them and inquire about their health condition as we don’t have sufficient PPE,” said Manju Yadav, nursing administrator at Koshi Zonal Hospital.

We have very limited resources with us. If there are more cases then it will be difficult for us,” said Tirth Raj Gautam, information officer at Dhaulagiri Zonal Hospital.

The hospitals have been seeing a number of fever patients, who could be infected, daily.

One of the symptoms of COVID-19 is fever and dry cough. “About 25 fever patients visit the hospital daily. We must build our capacity before it’s too late,” said Dr Srishti Gurung, medical officer at Manipal Teaching Hospital.