Covid-19 hospital in Janakpur caught off guard by second waveNone of the ventilators at the hospital are in working order, officials say.
On Wednesday noon, a Covid-19 patient from Matihani in Mahottari got admitted to Provincial Covid-19 Hospital in Janakpur for treatment. The 54-year-old woman was immediately put on ventilator support because of her critical condition.
But her condition worsened after the ventilator went out of order after some time.
“We requested doctors to manage another ventilator, but the doctors told us that all the ventilators at the hospital were not in working condition,” said the woman’s son.
The patient was still in the ventilator ward of the hospital on Thursday but without ventilator support. Her condition is still critical, her son told the Post.
Dr Manish Pandey, spokesperson of the hospital, says the hospital has five ventilators but all of them are out of order. “The ventilators were purchased last year. None of them are working now. The hospital is trying to get them repaired.”
There were 31 critical Covid-19 patients from Dhanusha and Mahottari districts at the hospital on Thursday.
The Health Ministry has put Dhanusha among 19 districts outside Kathmandu Valley where coronavirus infections are spreading “dangerously”.
According to Pramod Yadav, medical superintendent of the Provincial Hospital, they have asked the provincial government to send new ventilators. “The government sent two new ventilators on Wednesday. We are preparing to install them and hopefully will be able to run them,” he said.
On Thursday, Provincial Covid-19 Hospital, set up last year by the provincial government inside the premises of Janakpur Nursing College, was crowded with Covid-19 patients and their attendants.
Some patients’ attendants said they were buying medicines even though the treatment for Covid-19 is free of cost at government hospitals.
“We are purchasing medicines from outside,” said the son of the 54-year-old Covid-19 patient from Matihani.
According to him, the same health workers who are assigned to non-Covid-19 patients are tasked with the treatment of the Covid-19 patients. “I have to run and call for a doctor from the other wards to take a look at my mother in the Covid-19 ward. It’s chaos here,” he said.
Dr Manish Pandey, spokesperson of the Provincial Covid-19 Hospital in Janakpur, says the shortage of health workers has hit the hospital hard.
“Health workers of Provincial Hospital in Janakpur have been assigned to work at the Provincial Covid-19 Hospital here. They are working at both hospitals,” said Pandey. “The provincial government did not manage human resources, medical equipment and necessary medicines on time. Now we are pooling all our resources together to run the Covid-19 hospital.”
According to him, both Provincial Hospital and Provincial Covid-19 Hospital are being operated with a limited manpower.
“The Covid-19 hospital has only provided supplemental oxygen and beds free of cost,” said Pandey, adding that medicines, meals, drinking water and other necessary items are being managed by Covid-19 patients themselves.
However, Gyanendra Yadav, minister of infernal affairs and law for the province, also the spokesperson of the provincial government, claimed that the government has been providing treatment and medicines to Covid-19 patients free of cost “We haven’t been able to provide meals to patients due to staff shortage.”
The Provincial Hospital had demanded 91 health workers to operate the High Dependency Unit and 91 employees for the Provincial Covid-19 Hospital.
The initial plan for the Provincial Covid-19 Hospital had 100 beds but only 63 beds were set up due to a lack of infrastructure and health workers.
Pramod Yadav, medical superintendent at the Provincial Hospital, said: “Currently, the Provincial Covid-19 Hospital is running only 63 beds out of which 12 are ICU beds and 41 have oxygen supply. The rest are being operated as general beds.”
Last year, the provincial government had decided to make Janakpur’s Manipal Hospital as the Covid-19 Specific Hospital to expand and expedite the fight against Covid-19.
A Cabinet meeting of the provincial government had opened 227 posts for health workers for the operation of the Covid-19 hospital. But the hiring of health workers is still under process.
The government had also decided to add 417 temporary posts of health workers in various hospitals and laboratories in the province but the decision has not been implemented yet.
Minister Yadav said the government was working on a war footing to bring the Covid-19 hospital in Manipal into operation within 20 days. “All of the decisions of the government will be implemented soon,” he said.