Heath care service in Sudurpaschim Province is pathetic and the province lacks basic health facilities.

Health care has deteriorated at a time when the entire country is battling the COVID-19 pandemic. The hilly districts — Bajura and Doti have neither ICU service nor ventilators nor health workers and medical appliances.

Although more human resources are required, the demand has been ignored.

Only 18-bed ICU service is available in the entire province (10-bed ICU in Kailali and an eight-bed ICU in Kanchanpur), according to Sudurpaschim Province Health Directorate.

Health Directorate Director Dr Guna Raj Awasthi admitted failure to provide ICU and ventilator service to the districts for want of workforce. “It is not a big deal to purchase medical appliances, but specialists, doctors and technicians are needed to operate them. We lack human resources,” he said. There are no vacancies for specialist doctors in hilly districts, he said.

Efforts are on to set up ventilators in seven hilly districts of the province at the initiative of the province government. “Each district will get two ventilators.

The process of purchasing ventilators is under way,” he said.

Hospitals in the province cannot deal with infected people once the infection rate increases, he said. Darchula has recorded 50 infection cases, the lowest in the province. Of the infected, 47 have recovered.

The district has altogether two hospitals, 41 health posts, 18 community health units, 14 basic health centres and nine town health centres. The two hospitals have 21 isolation beds and efforts are under way to set up 10 isolation beds in each local level.

Baitadi has a total of 342 COV- ID infection cases and 19 people have been kept in isolation. The district has 65 health posts, a district hospital, two primary health centres and 20 community health units. The process of setting up PCR machine has reached the final stage and a team of required health workers has been selected to operate it, said public health officer Yogesh Prasad Bhatta.

Mahendranagar-based Mahakali Hospital has finally brought an ICU and two ventilators into use five decades after its establishment. The hospital’s Medical Superintendent Dr Hari Shrestha said a six-bed ICU service has come into operation in the hospital since some days.

One among the three of the hospital’s ventilators is however dysfunctional. The hospital is currently reeling under human resources crisis. It has 28 posts vacant for the staffers.

Dadheldhura Hospital’s Medical Superintendent Dr Jagadishchandra Bista said there were four ventilators currently in use in the district. Three were already there while a new ventilator was recently brought to the district. According to him, there is no ICU service in any of the health facilities in Dadheldhura.

Doti District Health Office Chief Ramesh Malashi said Doti neither had ICU services nor ventilators in any of its hospitals.

Even private hospitals in the district do not have ventilator.

Kailali District Hospital has 10-bed ICU facility and seven ventilators, according to Kailali District Health Office. Private hospitals there, however, have been offering ICU and ventilator services. Bajura, is backward in terms of public health services.

Bajura Health Office Chief Daya Krishna Pant said that health did not have adequate human resources.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on August 31, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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