COVID Isolation Centers Provide a Lifeline as Nepal Battles a Surge
COVID isolation centers are becoming a life-saving necessity for families in Nepal as the pandemic surges through South Asia. Kathmandu is in lockdown once again, with schools closed and hospitals filled beyond capacity.
Nepal Youth Foundation opened our first COVID Isolation Center in our Kathmandu Nutritional Rehabilitation Home on Tuesday, May 4th, and it is already full, mostly with people under the age of 18. Isolation centers provide safe care for individuals who have been infected with COVID-19 and must be isolated from their families, but who are not sick enough to be hospitalized. Our vaccinated staff members are doing all they can to provide high-quality care to these children, working to ensure their safe recovery.
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NYF President Som Paneru recently spoke with BBC News about the situation in Nepal. You may listen to the 2-minute interview here, or read the transcription below.
Som: The second wave is causing a great level of distress among the population here. The cases are rising at an alarming rate since the last couple of weeks. People are desperate to find life-saving services like oxygen, hospital beds, ICU, ventilators, etc. So a severe lack of safe isolation places is one of the root causes right now for spreading the virus. Families are living in very congested living conditions, and one family member gets infected and infects the rest. So that’s how it has reached every family and eventually the community. So the situation is very desperate, getting very desperate right now.
BBC News: And what are the hospitals saying in terms of, as you say, the beds. How have they been? Because we’ve been hearing what’s happening in neighboring India. How have people been managing if they haven’t had the oxygen supplies? Has it been the same where they’ve been buying their own cylinders, looking for them to be filled, or has it not yet got to that stage?
Som: We are pretty much going towards the same trail like in India. The families are desperate to secure a cylinder to keep at home. Because there are no places to go in hospitals. Hospitals are turning down new admissions in most of the places. Unless it is a really critical situation. So people are losing lives in the ambulance, traveling from one hospital to another.
BBC News: Can you tell us, please, Som, what your organization has been doing to try and help? What have you been seeing?
Som: Nepal Youth Foundation has recently started an isolation center. A safe isolation place for those people who are infected but are not able to go to hospital, and they cannot stay in the family either. So the isolation center is the first step towards breaking this chain of spreading the virus. So we’ve started one center in Kathmandu, and now there’s a huge demand for opening more centers like this across the country.
Slowing the spread of this virus is critical, and safe isolation centers are an important part of this process in crowded cities like Kathmandu. To learn about NYF’s other COVID responses, please visit our timeline here. And if you are able to donate, please do so by clicking the button below.