In any modern hospital, supplemental oxygen provision forms a key treatment in most medical and surgical conditions. Supplemental oxygen is particularly required for the management of patients with respiratory and cardiac diseases. It is essential for resuscitation, both paediatric and adult, and all life support including anaesthesia.
At UMHT our patients currently consume between 6 and 8 large 6500 liter tanks of oxygen every day.
Our only source of these tanks is over an hour away by road – and the road is very dangerous . Particularly during monsoon season (July-October) landslides on the Siddhartha Highway between Butwal and Tansen are common. They leave the road blocked; sometimes for a day, sometimes for over one week.
This year (2015) there were two fatal accidents on this road due to landslides alone. In one instance a bus was taken off the road and down a cliff into the river killing three people . In another two medical professors from the nearby Lumbini Medical College were killed when a boulder crushed their jeep .
At present UMHT is running very low on oxygen because a dispute between India and Nepal has severely restricted the supply of diesel fuel to Nepal, and this is needed for the trucks to bring the cylinders to the hospital.
Another difficulty UMHT has with its current oxygen supply is that it is expensive. There are only two suppliers in Butwal, and they both charge very high prices. Once the cost of transport and labor is added to the purchase price the total annual cost of Oxygen is $33,000.00 USD.