Nepal: Rental respirators help hospitals to treat Govt-19 at affordable prices
A “bank” of ventilators has leased equipment to treat Kovit-19 patients in intensive care to Nepalese hospitals, saving lives across the country at low cost since the outbreak began.
Like its neighbors in South Asia, Nepal was hit by a severe corona virus in April and May, which completed hospitals with patients and difficult stocks of medicines and medical equipment.
After reaching 9,000 new daily cases in mid-May, the number of contaminants is now clearly declining, but hospitals are under pressure, officials say.
The Himalayan country of about 30 million people has only 840 ventilators in total, according to government data. Most of these devices needed by patients suffering from the severe form of Govit-19 are located in the capital, Kathmandu.
Nepal Ventilator Services, a non-profit organization founded by doctors, was born out of this observation.
– Chronic Deficiency –
“Nepal suffers from a lack of equipment such as respirators,” co-founder Bishal Thakkal told AFP. According to the 42-year-old doctor, “2,000 to 3,000” respirators will be needed to meet the needs of the entire population of Nepal.
In April 2020, this former cardiac surgeon, now a general practitioner, began his solicitation for donations. The latter was quickly poured in, making it possible to obtain the first twenty respirators rented by hospitals. Since then, the organization has been able to finance the purchase of 85 respirators.
Its devices have been used to save nearly 1,500 patients across the country at low cost to hospitals. A respirator is rented for 3,000 rupees ($ 25) a day to cover maintenance and transportation of machinery.
During the last wave of the epidemic, Beam General Hospital in the south of the country, which had only one ventilator, told AFP Shakuntala Gupta, its director, that it was “lucky to be able to rent two more” from Nepal Ventilator Services.
“Our patients need ventilators, but we don’t have the budget to buy them immediately,” he explains, “especially since the administrative process for obtaining approval is long”.
In Kathmandu, Karuna Hospital used the system’s eight ventilators this year. In mid-May, AFP Ram Kumar Srestha, general manager of the private hospital, recalled that “at the peak, all patients admitted to intensive care needed respiratory assistance.”
“Without respirators + bank +, the death rate would undoubtedly be unimaginable not only here (in Kathmandu) but in many parts of Nepal,” he said.
– “They saved us” –
In Kathmandu, 29-year-old Lakshmi Rokkaya was the victim during this period. A week after the diagnosis, she had trouble breathing to the point where she needed help.
After his brother, Kunsang Makar, ran all over Kathmandu, he found Karuna Hospital to greet his sister with a ventilator rented from Nepal Ventilator Services. “They saved us. I don’t know if we could have found a respirator without them, ”Maker told AFP.
Rogia was placed on life support for two days and was able to leave the hospital a week later.
Mr. According to Thackeray, in May, all breathing apparatus in his system continued to be used by hospitals across the country. Nearly 630,000 pollutants and more than 8,900 deaths have been officially reported in Nepal since the outbreak.
Today, the second wave is gradually disappearing, but officials are already anticipating the next one. So Mr. Takal is trying to increase his breathing apparatus and train new staff to operate them.
“Hospitals come to us in search of equipment that responds to emergencies, but they are not needed for long,” he underscores.
His organization has only one goal, he says, “to provide people with the care they need.”