Two dozen cases reported in Kapilvastu’s Taulihawa Bazaar on FridayDistrict Hospital, the only government hospital in the area, has closed its services after Covid-19 spread among staff.
A 49-year-old man from Taulihawa Bazaar in Kapilvastu has been undergoing treatment for Covid-19 at the corona special hospital in Butwal for the past week.
On Thursday, his wife and daughter also tested positive for coronavirus. Since they are symptomatic patients, they were asked to get admitted to a hospital immediately. But the mother-daughter duo could not seek treatment at the District Hospital—the only government hospital in the area— as it was sealed from Monday following coronavirus infections among hospital staff.
The duo then had to travel all the way to the corona special hospital in Butwal for treatment. The distance between Taulihawa and Butwal is around 52 km by road.
The District Hospital on Monday closed its services after 25 health workers, including three doctors, tested positive for coronavirus. The infection has spread in Taulihawa Bazaar in the past week, and the locals have been left out in the cold since the hospital closed its services.
“The closure of the hospital has not only affected coronavirus patients but also those of us who need medical attention for other ailments,” Pashupati Tripathi, a local of Taulihawa, told the Post. “We have no option but to go to Butwal for medical treatment and not everyone can afford to make the journey, especially at a time like this.”
Taulihawa Bazaar in Kapilvastu Municipality was relatively untouched by the virus when infections started appearing in the district back in May. But on August 5, 17 individuals tested positive for coronavirus in the area. By Friday, the number had soared to 71, with 26 new cases reported on Friday alone.
For the locals of the area, the spread of coronavirus and the closing down of the only government hospital have come as a rude awakening.
“The number of coronavirus infections has been increasing every day. Most of the patients are those who were in regular contact with the public—they are bank employees and grocery store owners,” said Chakra Bahadur Chhetri, a resident of Taulihawa Bazaar. “What’s worse is that the only affordable hospital in the area has closed down its services so it’s difficult to check into a hospital if we get infected.”
There are around half-a-dozen private hospitals and medical clinics in the area but not everybody can afford these private health institutions, says Chhetri.
With the surge in cases, the locals have been demanding that the local authorities expand PCR testing in Taulihawa but the concerned authorities haven’t even been able to effectively contact trace possible coronavirus patients.
The District Health Office in Kapilvastu says it hasn’t been able to expedite contact tracing in Taulihawa Bazaar because the office is facing a shortage of Viral Transport Medium sets.
“We only have 50 VTM sets available now so we haven’t been able to expand contact tracing in Taulihawa,” said an official at the District Health Office, preferring anonymity.
Until Friday, the total number of cases in Kapilvastu district had hit 923. Among them, 136 are active cases.