We’re keeping in contact with our partners and friends in Nepal so that we can respond quickly to the evolving situation with COVID-19. Below is an update from Dr Kami Temba who is the senior doctor in charge of Kunde Hospital. Sir Ed build this hospital in 1966 and it remains an essential component in healthcare delivery across the Khumbu region.
We are currently in a nationwide lock-down. People in Kathmandu and other major cities seem to be complying with the order, but the government presence here in the remote Solukhumbu region is nil and there is no restriction on local people’s movement within the area. It’s potato planting time here, which is our only crop, so locals are busy in the fields.
We are so pleased the government has cancelled all mountaineering expeditions and international and domestic flights. Thank you to those encouraged the government to take those steps. It is very quiet and calm here with no trekkers – it reminds me of life four or five decades back.
We are taking every possible safety measure for ourselves as well as the local people. We have set up a hand washing station in front of the hospital and have a staff member whose daily task it is to make sure every patient has washed their hands properly before entering the clinic. Every individual patient we see in our day-to-day clinic is well informed about public health and preventive measures.
We don’t seem to have community transmission of COVID-19 in Solukhumbu yet. It would be disastrous if we did, as we have very limited protective supplies like masks or hand sanitizer. Testing kits, PPE and ICU beds are also very limited, even in the government central hospital in Kathmandu. We are keeping our fingers crossed!