Sunday, June 16, 2013

Microbiology at Bayalpata Hosptial

The staff at Bayalpata are always busy trying to find ways to improve and become more efficient. The focus on improvement doesn't leave much room for reminiscence. For a newcomer like myself I was preoccupied with how far the hospital has come since its opened its doors four years ago. The progress is even more impressive considering the formidable obstacles that Nyaya Health has faced and continues to face. 

Not only has Nyaya Health succeeded in establishing a free hospital in Far Western Nepal that provides basic health services, but it also continuously tries to expand its services. Take for example Bayalpata Hospital's Microbiology Lab that is currently expanding to include a bacterial culture facility. 

Bayalpata's lab is the only one of its kind in the district of Achham. It is currently staffed by four lab technicians and is equipped with an I-stat machine, a QBC Hematology Analyzer and a number of important serology tests, including HIV, Malaria, TB, and Hep-B. Having an in-house laboratory with the ability to analyze patients blood, kidney, and liver functions has allowed the physicians to more quickly and accurately diagnose their patients. The lab technicians approximate that they run biochemistry tests on 50 patients a day, at times discovering patients that are HIV+ and unaware of their condition. These patients can then be referred to Bayalpata's Anti-retroviral Therapy program. The biochemistry tests at the lab also allow the technicians to spot unusually high white blood cell counts that may be diagnosed by the doctors as leukemia. 

In the next few days, the technicians hope to begin growing and preserving bacteria cultures which will allow them to increase their diagnostic capabilities as well as pursue academic research, particularly concerning antibiotic resistant bacteria. Bayalpata is currently treating two patients that are suffering from multi-drug resistant tuberculosis. The capability of testing cultures with antibiotics can allow drug resistant strains to be more quickly recognized.

When Nyaya Health was founded in 2006, it opened a clinic in an abandoned goat shed. Today it is operating one of the few microbiology laboratories outside of Kathmandu. Hopefully similar progress is made over the next four years.

Bishnu, one of the four lab technicians working in the renovated microbiology lab at Bayalpata Hospital

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