Govt issues COVID-19 Unified Hospital Operation Order


Kathmandu, May 21

The government has issued the COVID-19 Unified Hospital Operation Order-2020 to utilise Nepal APF Hospital as a unified health facility for the treatment of patients infected with novel coronavirus.

The order was developed and issued in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 2 of the Infectious Disease Act- 1964. The order has come into effect with its publication in the Nepal Gazette on May 18.

As per the order, the government has designated the Balambu-based hospital as a unified health facility for identification, prevention, control and treatment of COVID-19 patients in an integrated manner.

The unified hospital shall mobilise health workers to serve the purpose of the order.

Section 5 of the order stipulates a provision of a seven-member steering committee headed by secretary at the Ministry of Health and Population.

Other members include chief of Birendra Military Hospital, chief of Nepal Police Hospital, chief of Nepal APF Hospital, two medical experts and chief accountant of Nepal APF Hospital.

The functions, duties and powers of the unified hospital is to make arrangements for human resource and logistics, maintain coordination with the MoHP and other concerned agencies and recommend for necessary budget and other resources, among others, to the MoHP.

There is also a provision of a seven-member operations committee chaired by the chief of Nepal APF Hospital to carry out operation, oversight and coordination with regard to daily business of the unified hospital. According to the order, the unified hospital shall provide services related to acute respiratory infection clinic, ICU ward, COVID-19 ward for suspected cases, COV- ID-19 positive ward, laboratory, radiology and pharmacy.

The order said the number of beds to be placed at the unified hospital shall be determined on the basis of requirement and availability of human resource and infrastructure.

Nepal APF Hospital will not provide regular services as long as it is operated as a unified hospital. However, services to be delivered by its subordinate hospitals at the provincial level will remain unchanged.

The unified hospital may also utilise human resource for medical equipment of government, private, community and cooperative hospitals as per need. “Special measures shall be adopted for the safety of doctors and health workers mobilised in the unified hospital, along with personal protective equipment consistent with the standards set by the World Health Organisation,” read the order.

The unified hospital shall provide food and other necessary logistics to patients admitted for COVID-19 treatment.

“The Ministry of Finance will allocate full budget for the operation of the unified hospital.

Patients will be entitled to treatment free of cost,” it said.

If any COVID-19 patient dies in the course of treatment, the body shall be managed in accordance with the protocol developed by the government.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 22, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.

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