Since the beginning of April 2021, Nepal has been battling a harsh second wave of Covid-19. Thankfully however, over the past few weeks, cases across Nepal have begun to decline. On the 1st of July 2021, Nepal recorded 1,857 new cases, far fewer than were reported in the previous month. However, health workers across the country are still battling to provide vital care for those still suffering.
Across Nepal there is a lack of Coivd-19 tests, making it difficult to confirm exactly how many people have been infected and therefore contain the spread of the virus. In many cases, people choose not to be tested for fear of being isolated or stigmatized if they are positive. Vaccines are also in short supply, putting vulnerable and elderly people in particular at risk. In Nepal, 1.4 million people aged 65 and above are waiting for their second shots.
Nepal launched its vaccination campaign at the beginning of 2021 and has since given doses to 3 million people. Nepal relies on India and China to provide them with doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. However, it is now uncertain whether a continuation of the vaccination drive in Nepal will be possible, with India now prioritising their own population by delivering remaining doses to control the second wave of the virus there.
Until recently, cases of Covid-19 had largely been contained within the capital Kathmandu, and other more densely populated areas of Nepal. However, over the past month, around 5,000 people arrived in the Karnali region in the Far West of the country from various parts of India, as cases there began to increase. Across Nepal, 38 percent of tests are still coming back positive, while inadequate testing has meant that the risk of Covid-19 spreading to the remote regions in the Far West region of Nepal has increased. The current health infrastructure of the region could easily become overwhelmed if the situation continues to worsen.
From October 2020 to March 2021, PHASE Worldwide delivered a Covid-19 Rapid Response Project in the Far West of Nepal. Although this response has now reached its end, health workers and communities in the Far West are now far more prepared for an increase in cases than they were previously. The prevention work put in place during the Covid-19 Rapid Response will continue to benefit these communities, with the provisions distributed across the region helping to mitigate the worst effects of this second outbreak.
During this response, we took a number of steps to disseminate knowledge of the dangers of the virus, and how people can go about their daily lives without posing a risk to themselves and their communities. In addition, 3,000 Hygiene Kits were distributed amongst vulnerable households and 220 sets of PPE items were given to all 11 PHASE Health Posts. This was a crucial process for supporting the healthcare system, as a reduced spread of the virus ultimately means less pressure on struggling health services.
However, Nepal is facing a crisis, with Covid-19 having an effect on the communities we are currently supporting. We have therefore decided to launch an immediate emergency request for support. We are asking the public to donate to help raise funds for oxygen for oxygen concentrators, isolation beds, medicine, personal protective equipment (PPE), and health workers in Nepal.
Nepal needs your help now, more than ever. Covid-19 is pushing an already weak healthcare system to its limits and is causing unnecessary suffering to thousands of vulnerable people. Please support us if you can via our Just Giving Page.