Rolpa District Hospital lacks medical equipment to collect and preserve nasal and throat swabs from Covid-19 suspectsIn the past few weeks, Rolpa saw many migrant workers returning home, but no strict measures are being taken to prevent them from mingling with the local population. This, health officials say, will lead to the local transmission of the virus.
A 58-year-old man of Kotgaun in Rolpa Municipality has been kept in isolation as a suspect case of Covid-19 at the District Hospital since Thursday. But the hospital is yet to collect his nasal and throat swabs required for testing for a lack of necessary medical equipment.
The brick kiln worker at a brick kiln factory in Kathmandu had returned to his village a few days ago, according to Anil KC, chief at the Health Office in the district. “The man has been kept in isolation at the District Hospital after the villagers brought him to the hospital on Thursday. He was suffering from high fever,” said KC. “But now his condition is normal.”
Tul Bahadur Ghartimagar, ward chairman of Rolpa Municipality Ward No. 6, said the patient’s family members have been asked to stay in self-quarantine in their own house.
Two people each from Madi and Tribeni who had recently returned to their villages have also been kept in self-quarantine since their return.
The District Hospital has set-up a four-bed isolation ward to combat the possible spread of the virus. But health workers at the hospital complain about not having the necessary medical equipment to collect the nasal and throat swabs of the suspected patients.
Dr Prakash Bahadur Budha of the District Hospital said Viral Transport Media is necessary to ensure effective collection and transportation of swabs. “We don’t have the media to collect the nasal and throat swabs. We need to preserve the sample,” said Budha, “to send it to the Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease to test for coronavirus.”
In the past few weeks, Rolpa saw many migrant workers returning to their homes from Kathmandu and foreign countries, but no strict measures are being taken to prevent them from mingling with the local population. This, health officials say, will lead to the local transmission of the virus.
Girish Pun, a local of Thabang, said people who have recently returned to the villages are not self-isolating and are instead seen idling around the market areas. “The local unit should inform them about the dangers of going out at a moment like this. They should actively raise awareness about why it’s necessary for them to stay indoors.”
The local administration agrees that most recent returnees are seen visiting their relatives and friends despite the lockdown. Bir Bahadur Khatri, chairman of Gangadev Rural Municipality in western Rolpa, said they are having a tough time making people understand the gravity of the current situation. “We haven't set-up a quarantine facility so far. We have informed the locals and the newcomers to stay indoors but not many have listened,” said Khatri.
In Gangadev alone, more than 450 migrant workers returned to their villages from India after the lockdown.
Tribeni, Runtigadhi, Sunchhahari, Sunilsmriti and Lungri in the municipality have also requested the returnees and other villagers to stay indoors. Laxman Dhakal, Chief District Officer, says it’s the responsibility of the people’s representatives to encourage people to stay in their houses during the lockdown. “More than 10,000 people of Rolpa have returned to their villages in the past few weeks from coronavirus-hit countries. The people’s representatives must make sure that these people take every precautionary measure to prevent the spread of the virus in the villages.”