22 Dec Green Pastures adapts for the coronavirus pandemic
Healthcare is one of the main sectors that has had to make significant changes since the coronavirus pandemic first reached Nepal in March.
Our partners in Nepal have made many adaptations since then to ensure the country is as prepared as possible – protecting the most vulnerable people and restricting the spread of the virus.
Green Pastures Hospital, INF Nepal’s flagship hospital in Pokhara, has played a key role from the very start. Some wards have had to be left unoccupied to be used as an overflow in case of a coronavirus spike, with 15 beds available for Covid-19 isolation cases and 4 beds for palliative care.
Moreover, the strict nationwide lockdown in Nepal which began on 24th March led to a sharp drop in outpatient appointments for leprosy, ear and spinal cord injury services. Due to these issues resulting from the pandemic, Green Pastures was initially losing about 60% of its monthly income under the lockdown.
Across the services delivered at Green Pastures, the impact of coronavirus preparedness and loss of income has weighed most heavily on care for those with leprosy. We are continuing to work with the hospital during this challenging time, to enable a continuation of care so that those living with a disability can flourish and thrive.
In spite of all the challenges, these difficult times have also prompted INF to come up with some creative solutions for delivering healthcare.
For example, with help from World Health Organisation, Green Pastures set up a telehealth service to help people with disabilities, using phonecalls to discuss their issues and also provide orientation on health hygiene in the current situation. The Palliative Care and the Rehab Community Teams also continued to visit patients who could not get to the hospital because of lockdown or their personal circumstances.
Also, in the early days of lockdown a Fever Clinic was established on the instructions of the Ministry of Health (all hospitals with over 50 beds had to run such a clinic), to monitor all visitors and staff on arrival at the hospital. Anyone with high temperature or risk factors (such as travel or contact history) was referred to the Fever Clinic for further observation. Initially this was carried out in temporary facilities (tents and portable wash stations), but later a permanent hand-washing station was built at the hospital entrance and a building was established as a reception and fever check area.
All hospital staff were also trained on safety guidelines and the use of Personal Protective Equipment.
These adaptations at Green Pastures Hospital were made possible thanks to generous gifts from donors, including the Peter Stebbings Memorial Charity.
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