Covid-like symptoms in Sudurpaschim cause for concern, health workers sayFive to six members of a family are showing similar symptoms but few have been seeking Covid test.
Almost every household in Dhangadi sub-metropolitan area has been reporting cases of people falling sick with Covid-19 symptoms. Peoplein the age group of 15-20 years are among the ones getting ill with symptoms of cold, cough, fever, nausea, headache and body aches, according to the health unit of the sub-metropolis.
According to the chief of the Health Unit, Laxmi Raj Upadhyaya, 167 people tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday at Seti Provincial Hospital.
Dr Nirajan Dutta Sharma Poudel, consultant physician at Seti Provincial Hospital, Dhangadhi, said, “Most patients coming to the hospital for treatment are in the age group of 15 to 45 years. A majority of patients are under the age of 20.”
“Many cases are being reported from the Taranagar area. The situation is alarming because the infection has now spread in the local communities with students returning home from Kathmandu after school holidays and those returning from India making their way directly to their homes," said Upadhyaya.
Five to six members of the same family are suffering from similar symptoms but only a few have been getting tested for Covid-19, health workers say. “It is important to get tested so that the infected can isolate and prevent the infection of other family members,” said Poudel.
Poudel, who has been treating the infected people at Seti Provincial Hospital since the pandemic began, says the next couple of weeks are going to be challenging and crucial to stop the further spread of the virus. “It is important to expand testing of coronavirus suspects if we are to control the spread of the virus. But most people are treating the disease like common cold and not seeking treatment for Covid-19.”
In Kailali and Dadeldhura, children are yet to be vaccinated. This puts them at more risk of contracting the virus, say health workers. Although children in the age group of 12 to 17 have been vaccinated in seven other districts of the province, children in these two districts have not yet been vaccinated. Spokesperson for the Ministry of Social Development Narendra Singh Karki said the children are not vaccinated due to a lack of vaccines.
So far, Sudurpaschim has jabbed 1,023,764 with both doses of Covid-19 vaccines while 1,596,596 have taken their first dose.
Dr Govind Rokaya, Covid Focal Person at Mahakali Provincial Hospital, says although every household has patients suffering from all the symptoms of coronavirus, very few people are coming to Mahakali Provincial Hospital for testing. “Testing among children is even lower. People think it’s seasonal flu and avoid coming to the hospital for tests,” he said.
Bimala Bhatta of Taranagar says her son has been suffering from fever, nausea, cough, cold and headache for the past five days but she hasn’t taken him to the hospital yet. “Even my neighbour’s children have the same symptoms,” she said. “We haven’t taken them to the hospital yet since it’s the season of flu and viral fever.”
According to the hospital workers, the delay in treatment may lead to fatalities since medical help is sought only after their health condition worsens.
Baitadi has also seen an increase in the number of children falling ill with fever, cough, cold and nausea. According to the Baitadi District Hospital, 20 to 25 children with flu and respiratory problems have been visiting the hospital daily for treatment.
According to Dr Basanta Raj Joshi of the hospital, the condition of some children is serious. “The number of children requiring hospitalisation is increasing,” said Joshi.
(Bhawani Bhatta in Kanchanpur and Tripti Shahi in Baitadi contributed reporting.)