Congratulations to newly elected Prime Minister Khadga Prasad SharmaOli for standing tall for the motherland .While carrying on your first move asthe PM, I would like to request you to upgrade and update the seriously deteriorating health care system as a priority, which is the prime need right now to save our lives.
The roaring sound with powerful vibrations as if to swallow the whole universe is making us unable to stand straight on our feet. Heart pounding to explode, dizziness circling around us, powerful force pushing us as if to trap us into black hole, we thought that was the end of the world.
Yet, with the mercy of Lord Pashupatinath, we managed to survive with the ugliest Earthquake, of 7.8 magnitude, too,but we are still having the aftershocks in mind, which will take ages to recover. Our earthquake victims are still in the tents.
Pity, we are facing another most unfortunate manmade earthquake,a blockade,which has paralyzed our lives -- even our right to live by getting the medical treatment in time has been seriously hampered .
Blockade has been widely described as a ''collective punishment '' to all of us, which has resulted in a serious ''humanitarian crisis.''
I was worried and hence I thought about conducting a small 3-day survey on my own to check the ''impact of blockade on medical services.''
I walked to nearby hospitals -- visited Sahid Ganga Lal Hospital, Manmohan Cardiac Hospital, TeachingHospital , Om Hospital , Bir Hospital ,Patan Hospital Kanti Hospital andNorvic. Similarly I visited more than 50 main pharmacies located near these hospitals, including hospital pharmacies.While collecting the information, I felt traumatized myself.I came to know most ofthe pharmacies I visited were running out of Life Saving Drugs, too.
The findings of my survey are serious.Most of the pharmacies inside the hospitals and outside informed me that there is an acute scarcity of life-saving drugs. These mostly consist of medicines needed in Intensive Care Units, including medicines required for anesthesia. The medicines are: NS 100, saline, Esmolol,Phenylpherine, injectable antibiotics, Vancomycin etc. Medicines used for instant cardiac treatment, eg Labetalol, Adrenalyn, Metformin, Vasopressin etc are also in short supply. The pharmacies and hospitals also informed me that they are also gradually running out of stock of regular medicines. Most of the medicines are imported from India. And even medicines manufactured in Nepal cannot be delivered due to fuel shortage.
On talking to a few people in the hospitals, I found out that due to fuel crisis it is being increasingly difficult for hospitals to continue running the hospitals. For instance, it is difficult to provide pick up and drop services to all of the hospital staff. Doctors are also running out of fuel in their vehicles—this has created difficulties in running all out patient department services regularly like earlier, Generator-dependent services like ventilator monitors, Operation Theater andCath Lab will be seriously affected if hospitals are not provided with uninterrupted 24-hour electricity.
Due to the shortage of fuel, transportation of Oxygen, even the delivery of medicines from suppliers, etc were also hampered in all the pharmacies.Based on the information provided by the concerned authorities and my own observation, the flow of patients in almost all the hospitals has dropped by more than 60 percent due to lack of transportation, low number of taxis,public busesand even private vehicles.A tentative drop of 60% patients in hospitals indicates serious health causalities, even an accelerating death rateof people deprived of timely health care facilities.Even a single minute of timely medical care may save a life.
Through this appeal, I would like to request Prime Minister Oli that he paid heed to the following suggestions.
1. All these vital Life Saving Drugs must be imported as soon as possible from the air routes to upgrade the deteriorating health care system due to land route blockade. The supply must be ensurednot only in the valley but also to hospitals and health care units outside it as soon as possible.
2. Fuel supply must sufficient to hospitals to run the health care smoothly.
3. Doctors andnurses must be provided sufficient fuels to run the medical services in a normal way.
4. The number of ambulances,and similar other vehicles, can be added to help hospitals pick up patients.
5. Public transportation,especially for patients, must be arranged according to routes with pre-information through media for pick up and drop .
I wish and pray we can rise high and face such a humanitarian crisis boldly. I wonder where themembers of the international community are right now. We hope to rebuild our motherland collectively under your leadership. Congratulations, once again.
An environmentalist and founder of Save the Environment Foundation