Kathmandu’s oldest medical centre, Bir Hospital, in the heart of the city, has no space for expansion. After the 2015 earthquake damaged its mortuary, the hospital is constructing a new building in its place, which will also house its nephrology, cardiology and gastrology departments, but it is still short of space.
“Even after we start using our new facilities, we will need more space for the nursing campus, pediatric and maternity departments, organ transplant centre and many other services,” says Bir’s director Kedar Prasad Century, adding that there is no option but to expand to Duwakot in Bhaktapur, outside of Kathmandu.
Hospitals with large capacity will be much in demand after the next earthquake, and if they are knocked out of service, the injured will have nowhere to go. In 2015, many hospitals worked in the open or out of tents for months after the earthquake.
“In order to avoid such a situation in future, it is imperative that the reconstruction and retrofitting of hospitals be carried out with the utmost priority,” says NSET’s Guragain.
If this is the situation in Nepal’s privileged capital, one can only imagine what it is like in district hospitals. Many of the buildings are in advanced stages of disrepair, lack hygiene and are overcrowded, even in normal times. During disasters, hospitals will have to cope with a large influx of patients but the medical centres themselves will have suffered damage.
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