21 Jan Covid-19 update from Nepal (21st January 2022)
Here is an update from Krishna Adhikari, Executive Director of INF Nepal, about the current Covid situation in Nepal (on 21st January 2022). His email also covers the ways in which INF/N has prepared for a third wave of cases, including at Green Pastures Hospital, and the role it can play.
Greetings to you from INF Nepal. I hope this email finds you well.
Nepal is experiencing the third wave of COVID-19 with a rising number of confirmed cases after relatively low numbers of new infections in the past few months. In the last 24 hours alone, 10,052 new positive cases were reported across Nepal. Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population has asked hospitals and other health institutions to stay alert and be prepared for the possible influx of patients. Issuing the notice, the government has appealed to the public to adopt safety protocols strictly.
Even here in INF Nepal, many staff have already been infected from the past week though thankfully, no one has developed severe illness to date. But then, this is very early to state that the virus causes only mild illness, as that’s far from a certainty. We have observed that the transmission and infection rate is higher than the previous wave. Our departments in both offices and hospitals are experiencing unprecedented challenges as many staff are getting infected and are already in isolation. This has and will disrupt the smooth operation of our work. We are witnessing that the number of outpatients visiting the Green Pastures Hospital [GPH] in Pokhara has already begun to drop.
At this time, we are continuing to prioritise staff care and support, listening to and acting upon staff needs to ensure their mental and physical well being. We are in regular touch with our staff who are infected and are already in isolation. We are also advising our field-level team to ensure that they are well informed and safe through emails, phone calls, and line management. We are taking appropriate measures to manage our workforce through this period.
As the COVID surge turns into a third wave, we are once again challenged to find new ways to support vulnerable communities and continue our much-needed care for people seeking health needs in our hospitals.
We have already undertaken some of the preparedness and response-related activities – from the procurement of essential supplies, equipment, and medicine in our hospitals to building the capacity of community staff through training and spreading public awareness messages. We have been supporting the local governments in many of our working districts with additional resources to scale up the preventive measures and manage the quarantine and health facilities.
GPH is a prime example of INF Nepal’s preparedness with the operation of a 12-bed COVID ward for providing care and treatment for patients needing up to Level-3 treatment. Fever clinics and telemedicine services at GPH are operational. The construction of the Oxygen Concentration Plant is underway and will more likely support the treatment of the patients, including persons with disabilities and inpatients. This way, we are looking forward to addressing the interlocking health issues of persons affected by COVID-19.
We are also earnestly looking into hospital waste management, more specifically here at GPH. Proper management through segregation and disposal of healthcare waste is needed. With increasing COVID-19 cases, the amount of biomedical waste and infection control waste has increased, posing a hazardous risk and making more people vulnerable. The waste generated during this COVID period has added extra challenges for the hospital to manage already existing waste management issues. Therefore our next immediate step includes considering the on-site treatment with incinerator and temporary storage to reduce the burden of hospital wastes.
We will keep you updated as we move forward. Please stand together with us so we can face the challenges and serve in the best possible way.
With best regards,