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Gloves and masks for the docs

Prerana Marasini

Prerana Marasini

Gloves and masks for the docs

I was advised to get a urine test. When I entered the toilet, there was hardly a spot where I could plant my feet without letting them get extra wet. It was a clinic run by a woman who has children

My mom had been hospital­ized and the doctors said she needed to insert a fistula in case dialysis was urgently needed. I went to the pharmacist with the pre­scription for the fistula set. And the set included, among other things, four pairs of surgical gloves. Gloves? I couldn’t believe it! Never had it occurred to me that gloves, which doctors use all the time, needed to be sponsored by the patients. I asked the pharmacist if it was really required and he said the set con­tained all those items. I got angry and told the nurse in attendance to pass my message to the doctors that I was ready to donate masks and caps too. Aren’t gloves primary items needed for medical persons (although I hardly see nurses wearing them) when attending any patient?

 

Talking about ‘taking care of the patients’—sometimes I wonder if we go to hospital to be treated or to be infected. I had gone for my prenatal checkup in one famous hospital in Kathmandu. The toilets around the gynecological depart­ment were awful. First, the com­mode was not clean; the seats were all dirty. I looked for toilet papers to wipe the seat. There was none. And then I realized there was no trash can either. Even government schools in Nepal, however poor they may be, keep trash cans in girls’ toilets. I wondered how women could visit such hospitals during their periods. I got out of the toilet to wash my hands, and there was no soap either.

 

Once, I had gone to see a gyne­cologist at her private clinic in Kath­mandu. I was advised to get a urine test. When I entered the toilet, there was hardly a spot where I could plant my feet without letting them get extra wet. It was a clinic run by a woman who has children. She could be sensitive to other women’s needs. But nope, she did not care about the cramped waiting area or about the money that she would happily keep in her purse, without giving a receipt. Tax evasion you know! But who lets this apathy go unchecked?

 

I was once hospitalized in the US. After spending three nights, I was discharged. A couple of days later, I got a phone call from the hospital. It was a phone survey on how the hospital took care of me. I was asked questions like: Did the nurse sanitize their hands before attending to you? Did they put on fresh gloves? Did you like the food you were given? Did they change bed sheets?

 

Yes, it might be too much for us in Nepal to expect these services avail­able in developed countries. But on second thought, why not? Following a good global practice, and one that does not cost much, shouldn’t be a big deal.

 

Private hospitals in Nepal are expensive and there is no effec­tive insurance system in place. As a result the majority of the costs need to be borne by the patients themselves. Yes, there have been a few progressive chang­es (made by the government) such as provision of free dialysis but charging patients for basic hospital supplies like gloves—which are in fact vital for the attendants’ health too—is simply immoral!