Patients of chronic diseases suffer from a lack of treatment in SudurpaschimCritical patients, postpartum mothers, senior citizens and children are facing difficulties to reach health facilities due to the lockdown.
Dhan Singh Khati, an inmate at the Dadeldhura District Prison, died last Monday for want of treatment. A resident of Byas Rural Municipality in Darchula, Khati was a patient of high blood pressure and was paralysed from her waist down.
He was taken to Dadeldhura Hospital for treatment five days before his death. The hospital referred him to Dhangadhi-based Seti Provincial Hospital, which in turn referred him to Navajeevan Hospital in Dhangadhi. Khati was then taken back to Dadeldhura Hospital, where he died.
“Navajeevan may have refused to admit the patient since he did not have a family and no one to bear his medical expenses,” Chief District Officer Jagannath Pant said.
Ganga Devi of Bhageshwor Rural Municipality in Dadeldhura, also a patient of high blood pressure, died a few days ago. Suffering from paralysis for the past two months, she couldn’t seek treatment because of the nationwide lockdown.
“We could not take her to get treatment in Dhangadhi on time due to the lockdown. Vehicle operators asked for Rs 18,000 as transport fare for a one-way trip to Dhangadhi,” said Dambar Khadka, a relative of the deceased. “We didn’t have the money for the fare and she died in the village.”
These are only a few cases highlighting the number of deaths caused by a lack of timely treatment due to the lockdown. More than 18 individuals in Sudurpaschim Province have died for want of treatment since the government enforced the nationwide lockdown to control the spread of Covid-19.
“Government and private hospitals should be able to provide treatment and services to patients in any situation, but that hasn’t happened here,” Dr Jagadish Chandra Bista, chief at Dadeldhura Hospital.
Critical patients, postpartum mothers, senior citizens and children are facing difficulties to reach health facilities due to the lockdown. Even when patients do reach Dhangadhi for treatment, some like Khati have died for a lack of hospital beds. Before the lockdown, patients of hilly districts of Sudurpaschim used to go to Dadeldhura or Indian cities for treatment.
“It is difficult to get a vehicle pass here. Even if we receive one, we have to pay up to Rs 30,000 to take a patient from Dadeldhura to Nepalgunj on a hired vehicle,” said Arjun Tamang, a resident of Amargadhi Municipality. “Most of the private hospitals are closed and a few that are open are not providing treatment to all patients.”
Tamang could not find a hospital in Dhangadhi that would extend its services to his father who is a patient of respiratory disease. “I had to take him to Dadeldhura Hospital for treatment because the hospitals in Dhangadhi refused to have him admitted.”
Patients of various ailments are not only losing their lives because of a lack of medical attention but are also suffering due to a shortage of essential medicines. Medicines for kidney, liver, heart ailments and respiratory diseases are not easily available these days, says Nara Bahadur Khadka, a local of Ajaymeru.
“Patients of other diseases are facing difficulties, as they have been unable to get timely treatment. They have also been affected by a shortage of medicine,” Khadka said. “Before the lockdown, doctors from Kathmandu used to visit hospitals in Dhangadhi every week to provide treatment, but now all services have been put on hold.”