Fuel, power crisis may cripple hospitals

February 18th, 2008 - 3:17 pm ICT by admin  

Kathmandu, Feb 18 (Xinhua) Hospitals and nursing homes in Nepal’s capital may have to stop functioning if the irregular power supply and fuel shortage persist for a couple of days more, media reports said Monday. Four vehicles of the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH), one of the most important hospitals in the country and used for ferrying over 1,000 staffers, have stopped operating during the day to save on fuel.

A fleet of three ambulances of the hospital is already off the road due to shortage of fuel, according to The Himalayan Times.

“One ambulance has been ferrying doctors and other staffers,” said Mahesh Khakurel, director general of the TUTH, adding that the hospital has written to the government urging an end to this situation.

At the same time, the flow of patients in the hospitals from outside the Kathmandu Valley has also gone down.

Earlier, the hospital’s outpatient department used to witness long serpentine queues and issue tickets up to 400 patients on an average daily.

The government hospitals do not have to bear the brunt of load shedding as they have direct connection with the powerhouses.

However, the private hospitals and nursing homes are operating with the help of power generators during load shedding. But the diesel shortage is sure to affect them.

“Mechanical equipment and expensive instruments easily get depreciated and this affects the service of hospitals,” said Bhola Rijal, president of private health institution.

Hospital services will remain halted if this situation continues, he said, adding that the government should consider providing alternate source of electricity to the private health institutions.

Meanwhile, Shankar Oxygen Plant, which supplied 600 oxygen cylinders a day on an average to the hospitals and nursing homes, just supplied 150 cylinders Sunday.

“We received 4,000 liters of diesel through the ministry of health and population. We think the stock would not last after a month,” said Prakash Agrawal, an employee.

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