Co-Writer: Ms. Prakriti Shrestha
On 29th of April 2020, a second informative session was held in the presence of doctors, medical experts, IT experts and other general public from various regions of Nepal and abroad. They discussed the pandemic and the challenges faced especially in the western region of Nepal. The session was again led by Dr. Ramesh Kumar Maharjan, emergency physician and associate professor at Tribhuvan University Teaching hospital.
Dr. Rabin from Lumbini Medical College said that the people are terrified as there is a lot of confusion and misinformation about the virus going around. He informed that the region has not encountered any positive cases but there have been 3-5 suspected patients. He also mentioned there were people still visiting the OPD as people are not well informed about the virus and its danger.
Medical experts from the US explained that even though there has been a sudden spike in the number of cases in the USA, it was due to increased testing and so people need not panic. They also suggested that multiple screenings be conducted in Nepal as well and stated that the health of medical persons must not be compromised. They further added that the duffing area is of high risk as the virus can be airborne in such areas. Which is why everyone must receive proper training about the use of PPE which is yet not understood by many medical personnel.
Dr. Achyut Raj Karki shared his experience at Bir hospital, one the most crowded hospitals in the capital. He said that even though there is a single door entry, people have managed to enter from different ways and that they are not being able to manage the fever clinic. He highlighted that the distribution of masks and gloves in big hospitals like their is not possible economically. He also informed them that they have not encountered any patient that could be strongly suspected yet.
A medical expert from Lamjung said that they are safe for the time being and have not faced any problems due to this virus yet. He added that they have yet to encounter any positive cases in the community hospitals. Even though they had a lot of confusion in the early days due to lack of PPE, he said that now they are strongly following lockdown and are managing the situation.
Dr. Ramesh Maharjan claimed that they have distributed PPE to different levels of workers and patients which is being adapted locally. He added that the surveillance system might be of immense benefit to the emergency staff to deal with the pandemic as people taking the triage test do not head to the hospital immediately. This would allow the crowd in hospitals to decrease and the citizens to be less afraid. He thinks that journalists and media can be of great help to raise awareness about the system to the public.
The medical experts also suggested that IT could help in one level screening as it is quite hard for hospitals to manage it. They suggest that it would be great to be able to screen patients online to decrease the chances of contamination.
Dr. Anil Shrestha from Patan Hospital explained the hospital’s strategy to deal with the pandemic. They have separated certain areas of the hospital only for the COVID-19 patients which is not accessible to non-covid patients. When asked about emergency patients, he replied that they have an OT separated for such times.
The experts further went on to discuss the dangers of disinfectant that has been sprayed in various parts of the world. Governments of different countries have been spraying Sodium Hypochlorite as disinfectant. But it has had several negative impacts on the human body so it must never be sprayed directly on a human. They also speculated that it may take up to 15 minutes for the disinfectant to actually kill the virus from surfaces.
Similar to the past session, the doctors pressed that RDT must never be taken as the final test and that the 14-day isolation period previously recommended is not enough at all, and a 4-5-week isolation is a must. They encourage social distancing and wish that we are on the safe side during this pandemic.