Private hospitals have said they cannot treat suspected COVID-19 patients themselves.
"Hospitals don't have safety equipment, kits for testing. It is not possible to treat suspected COVID-19 patients," senior vice-president of the Association of Private Health Institution Nepal (APHIN) Kumar Thapa told Setopati.
The Health Ministry has instructed even private hospitals with more than 100 beds, that have been referring anyone suspected of coronavirus infection to the Shukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital in Teku, to handle the cases themselves.
The ministry has instructed the private hospitals to prepare isolation beds for suspected cases and to operate a separate fever clinic.
But Thapa, who is promoter of Alka Hospital in Jawalakhel, said his hospital has fever clinic but does not have isolation beds. "We do not have personal protective equipment (PPE) for health professionals, kits to collect samples for testing. We cannot provide service is such situation," he reasoned.
He revealed that anyone coming with suspicion of coronavirus infection currently is referred to the hospital picked by the government after normal check-up at the fever clinic. "There are other patients in the hospital. There is risk for them when suspected patients of COVID-19 arrive. The government instead should tell us the hospitals we can immediately refer them to."
Medical Director of Grande Hospital Dr Chakra Raj Pandey also said the suspected COVID-19 patients cannot be treated now. "We cannot start preparations at this condition. There are no PPEs or trained health personnel. How can we start?" he asked.
He pointed that private hospitals cannot provide service if the government does not provide PPEs and other equipment. "We have 30 isolation beds. But what can be done with just the beds? There are no PPEs or trained health personnel. It is isolation ward in name only."
Norvic Hospital, however, stated that it can treat the suspected COVID-19 patients. Deputy Director Biplav Sapkota said the hospital has started service with fever clinic and isolation ward.
"We keep suspected patients in isolation after checking their temperature. We then send the sample to the lab for testing."
He said the hospital currently has PPEs and other necessary equipment.