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VIP visits to hospitals are hampering treatment.

Health facilities in Bara and Parsa were flooded with people injured in Sunday’s windstorm killed at least 28 people. For doctors and health officials, it was tough managing the overwhelming number of patients, some of who were lying on the floor and corridors for the lack of space.

The following day onwards, the districts saw a flurry of visit after inspecting the affected areas reached the hospitals to enquire about the health of the injured.

“That’s when it started to become even more difficult. The entire focus shifted to VIP visits, when it should have been fixed on treating the patients,” said Dr Atulesh Chaurasia, medical superintendent at Narayani Zonal Hospital in Birgunj.

The list of visitors included Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, who travelled to the disaster-hit area before heading to the Narayani Zonal Hospital.

Former prime minister and chair of ruling Nepal Communist Party Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health and Population Upendra Yadav, Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba, chief ministers of provinces, ministers of the federal government as well as provincial government, lawmakers of federal parliament and the provinces and bureaucrats who traveled to the districts also visited the hospitals. But medical workers said that did more harm than good.

“First, the visits meant the hospitals were turned into fortresses with security personnel all around,” said Chaurasia. “On one occasion, I was stopped [by security]. I had to produce my identity card to prove I was the chief of the hospital to enter the hospital.”