Quarantine centres sans basic facilities

Kathmandu, April 4

In comparison to other countries, COVID-19 pandemic entered South-Asia, including Nepal quite late; hence there was ample time for preparation. The Government of Nepal claims efficient resource management to tackle the spread of the disease. In reality, all seven provinces lack personal protective equipment.

Though quarantine centres and isolation beds have been managed, there is lack of skilled human resources and necessary medical equipment such as oxygen cylinders and ventilators. According to the COVID-19 situation report published by INSEC Nepal, some awareness programmes were planned before the lockdown but they haven’t been effectively implemented. Radio and television broadcasting has now become the main medium of raising awareness among people. However, flow of information on COV- ID-19 is very weak.

“Common people do not have enough information regarding coronavirus transmission.

Police personnel have been arresting and counselling locals not abiding by the lockdown rules, Local government has devised programmes targeting them. But, the implementation part is weak,” the report warned. The infected and non-infected persons are being kept together. There is shortage of PPE for health workers and infected ones.

According to the report, not only private but also government hospitals are hesitating to admit virus suspects.

They are being referred to Sukraraaj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, Teku. A cardiac patient having respiratory issues was referred to Teku by Modern Hospital Godavari, Dhanusha, on February 26, stating that the patient had shown symptoms of COVID-19.

Even Provincial Hospital, Janakpur, refused to admit the patient.

News sources state that private hospitals are not allowing patients suffering from fever to enter the hospital.

For instance, on March 28, a person with a leg injury was denied treatment by a local hospital of Bara and was referred to Kathmandu.

The person lost his life on the way.

Infrastructure prepared for quarantine were found insufficient.

People kept in quarantine faced inhumane behaviour. Quarantine shelters made in schools were also found lacking proper management. According to sources, majority of the quarantine shelters do not have doctors. There isn’t proper management of safety gear for health workers deployed in the quarantines. Some of the quarantines do not have bed and people have to sleep on the floor. While the government has claimed it is managing food and shelter in the quarantine, these places are found lacking electricity, separate toilets for males and females, and communication facilities, among others.

The cities seem to have proper supply of medicines, food grains and vegetables, but there is lack of cooking gas.

Though government claims abundant gas supply, businessmen have created an artificial shortage and the government is well aware about this, read the report.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on April 05, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.