Baglung awaiting medical equipment to start running Covid-19 testsIn Parbat, the local administration is on high alert after two cases tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the neighbouring Baglung district.
The federal government has decided to launch large-scale Covid-19 rapid diagnostic tests in Baglung, but the health officials in the district say they still lack essential medical equipment to carry out the tests.
Besides Baglung, the government has also announced to run rapid Covid-19 tests in Kailali and Kanchanpur districts.
As per the government’s decision, the concerned authorities in Baglung have started consultations with health officials and other stakeholders to manage medical and protective equipment required for the tests.
“Since we don’t have the required medical and protective equipment, Dhaulagiri Hospital is only performing general check-up and collecting swab samples for Covid-19 tests at the time being,” said Dr Shailendra Pokharel, medical superintendent at Dhaulagiri Zonal Hospital.
He added that works were also underway to convert the hospital’s general ward into an isolation facility and to manage essential medicines and equipment.
According to the data of the District Health Office, around 900 people have returned to the district from overseas and other parts of the country since the Covid-19 pandemic. Baglung so far has had two confirmed cases of the disease.
“The majority of the people who returned from outside the district and from foreign countries are yet to be tested,” said Suraj Gurau, chief at the District Health Office.
Gurau added that none of the returnees stayed in quarantine facilities after their return and that they were told to observe self-isolation at their homes.
Chief District Officer Gaulochan Sainju said they were preparing to start the rapid tests with the people who recently returned from overseas, their family members, friends and neighbours.
“We will treat the coronavirus infected people in the isolation facility of Dhaulagiri Zonal Hospital,” said Sainju.
Dr Jhakal Gautam of the hospital said they were finalising the guidelines to run the coronavirus tests.
“The guidelines will inform health workers how to test for infection and what course to take to treat the patients. It will also help us determine the number of infected patients,” said Gautam.
However, Pokharel, the hospital’s medical superintendent, said that they cannot move ahead with the tests and treatment without protective gear.
“Conducting these tests is not going to be easy. The virus could transmit to health workers. So we have to be fully prepared before we start our operation,” said Pokharel.
Meanwhile, the District Administration Office in Baglung has decided to be more stricter with its lockdown rules after the people were not found to be following the orders to stay at their homes.
On Sunday morning alone, Baglung police had booked around 40 individuals for breaching the lockdown.
In Parbat, the local administration is on high alert after two Covid-19 cases were reported in the neighbouring district of Baglung.
Sishir Devkota, acting medical superintendent at Parbat Hospital, said they were collecting swabs of the people who had entered the district after mid-March for Covid-19 tests.
“We are collecting swabs from 10 individuals per day. The swabs are being sent to the regional lab of the Pokhara Academy of Health Sciences for testing,” said Devkota.
According to the data of the District Health Office in Parbat, 316 peple returned to the district starting March 14. Among them, 213 had come from various cities in India.
Agandhar Tiwari in Parbat contributed reporting.