THE second wave of the coronavirus pandemic has posed a great risk to the life of Nepalis. The infections and deaths, which have kept on increasing every day since the arrival of the second wave, have sent shockwaves across the nation. What is more depressing is the fact that the number of infection and serious cases has already started overwhelming our health facilities. Several hospitals, special COVID-19 health centres, isolation and other facilities have begun witnessing an acute shortage of beds in wards and ICUs.
The recent scenario in hospitals can be termed worse where many patients are dying for want of oxygen. Many hospitals where patients have outnumbered the beds have reported that they have run out of oxygen and ventilators, which are necessary items for saving the life of patients suffering from pneumonia or a vital drop in their oxygen level. Many afflicted people, both young and old, are seen gasping for breathes as they require vital oxygen at hospitals. The matter for hospitals has been made worse after the smooth supply of oxygen through their oxygen plant or outer outlets have been disrupted by the higher demand for oxygen across the nation, beset with the second wave of coronavirus pandemic. With the deterioration of the situation, people and some entrepreneurs have amassed or held up oxygen-filled cylinders.
Lately, apart from some enterprises, even common households are found keeping oxygen-filled cylinders. They have been doing so to avert any emergency in case any of their relatives would contract the disease. The communities, which have built isolation centres at their localities, too have been found amassing oxygen cylinders. As a result, hospitals are witnessing a sudden dearth of oxygen in their COVID wards. Also, many hospitals have reported that their oxygen plants have gone out of order. All these incidents have forced the administration to mobilise security personnel to collect all cylinders held up by the locals and entrepreneurs and scrap dealers. It is heartening to see that police have been able to recover many of such cylinders. After collecting, the police have deposited them to needy hospitals under the coordination of the Ministry of Health and Population.
No doubt, in this increasingly challenging period when the country is battling the second wave of the pandemic, oxygen along with vital medicines are required to tackle such challenges. They are the items that can save many lives and thus lessen the burden from our authority. According to experts, since many coronavirus patients visit the hospital only after they suffer from pneumonia, oxygen becomes a vital component to keep them alive. The shortage of oxygen has invited a serious situation in the fight against the second wave. At this grave time, our authority must maintain a smooth supply chain of oxygen. Apart from collaborating with hospitals and private producers, the government is also importing cylinders from abroad, mainly from China. Many hospitals, doctors and health workers are giving their best to save lives, but their efforts would see success if they are provided with all required equipment, including life-saving oxygen.