Dolpa District Hospital without electricity for a monthThere is no electricity in the hospital and other parts of the district as the Jairikhola Hydropower Project has been closed for repair and maintenance since February 27.
Lalmaya BK of Tripura Sundari Municipality-4 has been undergoing treatment at the district hospital in Dunai, Thulibheri Rural Municipality for the past five days. Her treatment for her stomach problem went smoothly but recovery has been difficult, she says.
BK, who has to wake up several times at night to take her medicines, says the hospital has been operating in the dark as it has not received any electricity for the past month. This has made life difficult for the patients, attendants and medical staff at the hospital.
“There is no electricity at night and the hospital doesn't run the generator except in emergencies,” said BK. “Sometimes I wake up at night to complete darkness and I lose my bearings. This is affecting my recovery.”
Muna Shahi of Dunai in Thulibheri Municipality-3 has been attending to her infant son at the hospital for the past week. Shahi says her son’s treatment is going well but waking him up at night for medicines and to take him on his bathroom breaks in darkness is proving difficult.
“One of the patients has an emergency torch and he turns it on when needed,” said Shahi. “But we can’t take the torch when we go to the bathroom because that will leave the ward in darkness. I have to feel my way around the place to make sure I don’t bump into things.”
The hospital has not received any electricity for almost a month now as the Jairigadh Hydropower Project in Thulibheri Municipality-2 is closed for repair and maintenance. The 200KW project has not distributed electricity since February 27.
The 15-bed hospital receives 30-40 patients for treatment on a daily basis. Last week, there were eight patients admitted to the hospital.
Health workers and doctors come to the ward carrying emergency lights to check up on the patients. They say the lack of electricity has affected the promptness of service delivery.
“Hospital staff as well as patients and their attendants are facing problems due to the lack of electricity. The hospital has just one generator and we can’t run it 24 hours a day as we will run out of fuel and the hospital does not have the budget to buy additional fuel,” said Dr Akarshan Timilsina of the hospital. “We have to save fuel for emergencies.”
The inconvenience at the hospital has discouraged patients from seeking admission even when they require hospital care.
“Patients come for checkups and even when they need hospitalisation, they prefer to go home,” said Timilsina. “Patients who are here for long term care have no option but to bear the inconvenience caused by the lack of electricity.”
According to Chief District Officer Bednidhi Adhikari, the temporary closure of Jairigadh Hydropower Project has affected the entire district, including the district headquarters.
“Maintenance work is underway and hopefully the project will start operating soon. The district authority, general public and government offices are also facing problems due to a lack of electricity in the district,” said Adhikari.