The COVID situation in Nepal is quite sensitive. The covid positivity rate is 47%, one of the highest in the world.
It seems impossible to believe that everything had almost gone back to normal at the start of the year. But now we have come to such a state. The ICU beds are full and oxygen cylinders are in a great shortage at such a crucial time. It is a very worrying case Nepal is facing currently.
The number of patients has been so overwhelming that hospitals have stopped taking in patients due to the lack of equipment, bed, and space. The shortage of ventilators and oxygen cylinders is a nightmare taking lives. There have been many unfortunate deaths because of this shortage.
As reported by TheGuardian.com, Gaurab Sharda, the chairperson of the Nepal Oxygen Gas Manufacturers Association said the oxygen demand increased fivefold and that even though the production is at full capacity, it is not enough. The hospitals that were demanding 20 cylinders a day now require 110 and the cylinders that used to last 4-5 days last only one.
The widespread of the virus has not just affected hospitals but also crematoriums. With patients dying due to this virus these crematoriums are also pushed to their limits. The one near Pashupatinath has been expanded on to the new ground near the banks of the Bagmati river. People are being heartbroken as they are unable to say goodbye to their loved ones as per their culture.
Nepal is having a very grave scenario, a small country like ours, having global ranking in cases and death is a very serious problem. Nepal needs help and aid from other countries, especially when its government is busy in a political dispute at such a fragile period. It is disappointing how the national leaders are treating a problem of this urgency.
The most important problem of this outbreak in Nepal is the shortage of oxygen. If at the very least hospitals could treat patients with oxygen and ventilators the situation has the potential to be slightly tamed than now. So many patients could be cured and sent home freeing space for other patients.
At a time like this, Nepal Korea Friendship Municipality Hospital in Bhaktapur has started the production of oxygen. The Oxygen plant that cost 6.5 million rupees has produced 192,000 liters of oxygen in 24 hours.
The plant is being operated around the clock. This plant covers two-thirds of the need at the 102-bed hospital. The Mayor, Madan Sundar Shrestha has said that although the production is not enough, the dependence on the government for oxygen has decreased significantly after the plant.
Currently, Nepal also received oxygen cylinders from China. 300 oxygen cylinders were brought to Nepal from China. But this takes a lot of time and money. There must be some alternative measures to quicken the process.
According to Techpana, the Nepal Association of Science and Technology has announced plans to create oxygen. According to NAST, Shankar Dhakal, a Senior Technical Officer is leading the project.
Since Nepal does not have any appropriate infrastructure available the associated authorities have to design and set up testing plans. The setup of the oxygen cylinder test has been started in NAST and the setup will soon be ready.
Another pressing announcement made by the mayor is that, if the government facilitates the import of the plant via air from China it would require 15-20 days to establish such an oxygen plant. It is not too late and the government should act immediately. We hope the government puts aside the political games at a time of such dire need and focuses on the betterment of the nation. It is still not too late to save lives.
Binod Chaudhary, Nepal’s first and only Billionaire has also announced to set up Oxygen Plants in Karnali, Sudurpaschim Pradesh, and Bir Hospital to help with the current situation. He is also setting up 18 ICU beds in the Bir Hospital.
With the hard work of current doctors, and hospital managers they are trying as much as they can to treat patients and to decrease the positive cases. However, Nepal does not have enough equipment to tackle such a massive emergency.
With the help and donations of people, there is steady change but it is not enough. The US also has sent in some ventilators and essentials. Nepalese celebrity stylist in the USA, Prabal Gurung has spoken out about the crisis Nepal is going through in hopes of getting Nepal’s Global attention and aid. With the help of such hardworking people like our health care workers and considerate aid, we will get over this soon and rise victorious.