Contextualizing Critical Care Medicine in the Face of Covid-19 Pandemic
Critical Care Medicine is a specialty dealing with the comprehensive management of patients
having, or at risk of developing, acute, life threatening organ dysfunction. The glaring need of critical
care services and human resources for critical care have become more evident in the face of the
current COVID-19 Pandemic. At this juncture, when the world is facing threat to humanity with an
increasing number of deaths due to COVID 19 pandemic, the discussion about the need for ICU beds
and human resources for critical care management has re-surfaced and is being increasingly realized.
In Nepal, as of 15th April, 2020, there are 194 hospitals with ICU facilities. The total ICU bed strength
is 1595 in 194 hospitals (which is approximately 6% of all hospital beds) and only around 50% of them
are equipped with ventilators (840). These figures indicate that Nepal has approximately 2.8 ICU
beds per 100,000 population. As Nepal braces to contain a major COVID-19 outbreak, the hospital
capacities of the country have already come under huge pressure. If the number of confirmed cases
of COVID-19 continue to rise at the current pace, the shortage of critical care facilities will become
more glaring than ever before.
The current pandemic is a tremendous opportunity for health planners to accelerate action and
ensure that the country is well-equipped to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. We need to be working
towards infrastructure and human resource strengthening and expansion in critical care, in order to
efficiently contain the pandemic.
Copyright (c) 2020 Dr. Niki Shrestha, Dr Basanta Gauli, Dr Shital Adhikari, Dr Harish Chandra Neupane
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