COVID-19: Army Hospital is treating non military patients for Free

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Image source: Nepali Army Twitter handle

Kathmandu, May 19. As the second wave of COVID-19 hammers Nepal, major hospitals in Kathmandu have been struggling to meet the oxygen and other medical supplies and are therefore denying admission to new patients.

Amidst this dire situation, the Chhauni-based Shree Birendra Military hospital built for Army Personnel only, however, has been relentlessly providing medical services to the general public. Prior to COVID, the hospital only provided medical services to military servicemen and their families. 

The official spokesperson of the Nepali Army, Brigadier General Santosh Ballav Poudel told DC Nepal that the 175-bedded COVID ward has been treating the infected patients on the basis of availability of beds and their health conditions. 

“Non-military patients are also receiving medical care on the recommendation of COVID helpdesk run by the government” Poudel noted.

A high level source confirmed that the Military hospital is serving more civilians than army personnel or their families. Above 85% of those receiving treatment for Covid are reportedly civilians. The source claimed that, “Our uniformed men are only brought in if they are in critical condition. Since most of them have been vaccinated their immunity thus far has proven to be relatively better. Plus, we have noticed from experience that they recover quicker due to their better physical condition.”

According to the source, the treatment of non-military patients has raised some complications about payments. The hospital is currently run by the contributions of military personnel to the Military Welfare Fund. Thus, the hospital is strictly built for the service of military personnel and their families. But, now there is confusion about whether to charge civilian patients or not because regulations are unclear on the payment for the treatment charges of civilians.

So far, the hospital has not taken any charges from the civilians. But, now the hospital is rethinking on it,” the source added. The government, however, has not provided any reimbursements to the hospital.

The source further stated that, “The Nepali Army is formed to serve and defend the country and its people against all sorts of threats. Currently, our threat is an invisible enemy. We are in the battlefield against a different sort of enemy and the arsenals and manpower required to combat are different. But, this is indeed a war and we will fight it with all we have until the end. Also, there is no way we will shy from our commitment towards the people in need. From treatment of patients, to ferrying needed medical supplies, to managing all the dead bodies, we are duty bound and we will discharge our duties honorably for this nation and people as we always have.”

Click here to read the Nepali version of this article.

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