After the government decided to charge coronavirus patients for test and treatment, the number of patients seeking treatment in health centres has gone down.

Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, designated for the treatment of coronavirus patients, has seen a drop in the number patients getting admitted for the treatment of COVID-19.

As per the data provided by the hospital, before Dashain the hospital was admitting at least eight COVID patients daily, but that number has come down to three of late.

“There were times when we couldn’t admit patients and referred them to other health centres. But now we have vacant beds. It could be because people do not want to come to hospitals because they need to pay now. Earlier, the government was paying for their treatment. When people can’t pay for the treatment there is no option for them but to stay at home. Though the government had said the treatment would be made free for the poor, people here do not want to be identified as poor,” said Anup Bastola, consultant tropical medicine at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital.

“The number of hospital admissions could be down because people have gone to their villages for Dashain and Tihar. But if the number has declined owing to the cost of treatment then it’s dangerous.

More sick people will stay at home risking their lives and infecting others,” Bastola added.

“During the time of pandemic, the government should ensure free treatment for all,” he added.



A version of this article appears in print on November 02, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.

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