Sindhupalchowk now in God’s hands: Not a single ICU bed available in the district
CHAUTARA: A 52-year-old man from Sangachokgadhi Municipality-4, Kubinde of Chautara was brought to the district headquarters Chautara Hospital on Monday morning.
Doctors said his condition was critical and he had to be rushed to an ICU hospital. The critically ill had to be taken to Dhulikhel Hospital, about 50 kilometers away. However, He died before reaching Sangachowk by ambulance. After his death, he was diagnosed with a COVID infection.
A few days ago, a man from the same ward was rushed to Dhulikhel for treatment after failing to get treatment at Chautara Hospital.
A new variant of the coronavirus is now plaguing Sindhupalchok. However, the hospital in the district headquarters Chautara does not have ICU and ventilator facilities. There are health centers including doctors in Bahrabise, Melamchi and Jalbire of the district, but oxygen cylinders are not available.
Chautara Hospital in the district headquarters and hospitals with doctors in other areas of the district fall under Bagmati Province. Despite the efforts of the Chief of Chautara Hospital, Dr. Sagar Kumar Rajbhandari to improve the services of the hospital, the people’s representatives and the general public have been accusing Chautara Hospital of being in a ‘coma’ for a long time.
Mayor of Chautara Sangachokgadhi Municipality Aman Singh Tamang had publicly expressed his frustration over the services of Chautara Hospital a few days ago.
Not only Chautara Hospital, but the health institutions of Melamchi, Bahrabise and Jalbire, which have doctors, are still in a more critical condition than the hospitals in the district headquarters Chautara.
Yuvraj Dulal was the Social Development Minister of Bagmati when the COVID pandemic started a year ago. He is the people’s representative of the Chautara in Sindhupalchowk. The condition of the hospital did not improve even during his tenure. Voters in his constituency are now dying on the way to the hospital without treatment.
The Bagmati provincial government provided a large sum of money to Dhulikhel Hospital but did nothing to improve Chautara Hospital and other health facilities in the district.
Not only the Minister of Social Development but also another powerful minister, Arun Nepal in Bagmati was from Sindhupalchowk. The condition of Bahrabise Health Center in his area is similar.
Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota’s village has now become a COVID ‘hotspot’. So far, two people have died and the number of infected has reached 32 in three days. As the number of infected people is increasing, the municipality has sealed off Kubhinde and Kadambas.
So far, the political leadership and those in the government have done nothing but wish for a “speedy recovery” on social media and pay a “heartfelt tribute” after people’s deaths.
In the previous year, the local governments were also active in the prevention and control of COVID, from quarantine construction to the distribution of health supplies. But now, the local government itself seems to be confused.
All the local governments in the district had spent at least Rs 5 million last year on coronavirus prevention and control, all of which has been spent on health supplies.
The local government had also worked out a plan to provide services to the people in case of emergency by providing some facilities in the health institutions in their area. The government could have provided at least some oxygen in the current situation, but no local government has been able to do so.
According to the health office, there are only a few isolation rooms with a capacity of 30 people in Sindhupalchowk. Not only the leaders of the local government and political parties but also the employees representing the federal government do not seem to have put forward any concrete programs other than imposing sanctions.
In Sindhupalchowk, the number of COVID infected with the new variant has reached 150. Most of the infected people are in home quarantines, but no one has an answer as to what their condition is, how they are living, or what is to be done if things get difficult. Apart from trusting God, the people of Sindhupalchowk have no choice in fighting COVID-19.
Local government finally waking up
As the number of coronavirus patients is increasing day by day, local governments have started implementing plans to serve the people using the limited resources they have.
Balefi and Jugal Municipality have jointly started making isolation rooms with oxygen in Ratna Rajya Secondary School building in Chanaute of Jugal Municipality. Similarly, Lisankhupakhar and Sunkoshi municipalities have also jointly taken initiative for the construction of isolation centers.
The local governments including Bahrabise, Chautara-Sangachokgadhi Municipality have started making beds ready by constructing beds with oxygen cylinders in their areas.