Kathmandu [Nepal], May 9 (ANI): Nepal's Ministry of Health has made it mandatory for hospitals to secure the government's nod to acquire medical oxygen from factories, as the recent surge in COVID-19 cases has led to a spike in demand for oxygen.
The health ministry said that government hospitals, as well as community or private hospitals, would now require a recommendation to acquire much-needed oxygen for the treatment of coronavirus patients.
"COVID-19 cases are ravaging Nepal as the second wave sweeps through the nation. Many of the infected now rely on a continuous supply of medical oxygen and in order to make it more organized it is now mandatory for all government, community or private hospital to produce recommendation from the Ministry of Health and Population in order to refill oxygen gas cylinders," the Health Emergency Operation Centre (HEOC) said in a release.
Moreover, it has directed all medical oxygen producer companies to abide by the regulation otherwise face the consequences. "If found to be continuing the sales and distribution actions would be taken as per the law," the release added.
The government also has addressed a total of 10 companies in its latest release which has increased fear amongst hospital operators.
"Companies already have started demanding recommendations from the ministry in order to refill cylinders. This has pushed those relying on oxygen into grave danger while brought us into a condition where we might not be able to admit new patients at hospitals," Hemraj Dahal, Secretary-General of Association of Private Health Institution- Nepal told ANI.
"Now we are at crossroads whether to admit new patients or not. Also, this new order has made us rethink what can be done to those patients admitted right now. We might have to ask families of those undergoing treatment at private hospitals to take their members to other hospitals. This decision has risked the lives of people than the virus," Dahal added.
About 80 percent of those admitted after contracting the coronavirus at hospitals require continuous oxygen supply. As many private hospitals in Nepal don't have oxygen plants of their own, the latest decision is claimed to take more lives in the coming days.
A total of four hospitals in Kathmandu Valley have put up a public notice announcing the closure of its doors for COVID-19 treatment. (ANI)