Kalaiya Hospital in Bara shut down after its employees test positive for the coronavirusA doctor and 10 health workers and staff at the hospital who tested positive for the virus are currently in isolation.
Kalaiya Hospital in Bara has closed all its services from Thursday after 11 of its employees contracted coronavirus.
All services, including the emergency ward, OPD, labour ward, X-ray services and laboratory, have been closed, said Medical Superintendent at the hospital Birendra Mandal. The 50-bed health institution is the only government-run hospital in the entire district with around 200 people relying on it for medical services every day, said Mandal.
A doctor and 10 other health workers and staff at the hospital who tested positive for the virus are currently in isolation.
Health workers blame the hospital administration for the virus’s spread in the hospital, saying they were not provided with the necessary safety equipment while dealing with Covid-19 patients. A technician at the hospital, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, "Health workers at the hospital were infected with coronavirus due to the hospital’s negligence. The hospital failed to arrange for health and safety equipment for its staff."
Mandal, however, claims that it was due to the negligence of the health workers that led to the spread of the virus inside the hospital.
“The health workers deployed in Covid-19 wards started visiting market areas and went about their normal lives after the government lifted the lockdown in July,” he said. “This led to the spread of the virus inside the hospital.”
According to Mandal, the virus was first detected in three individuals working at the hospital. "And despite all the precautions we took, other staff also got infected,” he said.
The services will resume in the next few days after the hospital gets disinfected, he added.
The federal and provincial government had allocated Rs 10 million and Rs 52.9 million respectively in the fourth week of April to Kalaiya Hospital to set up a temporary Covid-19 facility. The budget was to cover the costs for additional human resources, run Intensive Care Units and buy ventilators for the temporary hospital, said Paras Prasad Sah, the Province 2 assembly member from Bara.
Four months since the budget allocation, the temporary hospital is yet to be set up.
According to Mandal, the budget could not be utilised due to “technical difficulties.”
“The hospital authorities had invited e-tenders and carried out the technical evaluation of some items,” Mandal said. “We brought the items but the District Treasury Office, which mobilises the fund, did not agree to pay for the items.”
The infection tally in the district reached 191 in the third week of July.
Given the steady rise in the number of infections in the district, the Bara district administration has imposed an indefinite prohibitory order from August 2.
“We decided to impose a prohibitory order in Bara because Birgunj in the neighbouring Parsa district began witnessing a surge in coronavirus cases, “ said Rudra Prasad Pandit, the chief district officer of Bara. “There has been an increase in public movement across the two districts, as many individuals from Birgunj have their businesses in Bara."
“We issued a prohibitory order after 60 new infections were detected in the district," Pandit said.
On Wednesday, 30 individuals, including five security personnel, tested positive for the coronavirus, said Pandit.