In Nepal, the Covid-19 pandemic is becoming increasingly dangerous once more. As of the 9th of November, Nepal has a reported 194,453 cases of the coronavirus. Sadly, 1,108 people have lost their lives as a result. These figures are beginning to rise quickly; over 3,000 new cases are being reported each day, placing Nepal in a critical moment for controlling the spread of the virus.
Similarly to the UK, Nepal entered a nationwide lockdown in March which introduced various restrictions on livelihoods, travel, and social interaction. Nepal also designed a quarantine system along their borders to ensure that Nepalis working outside of the country could return home safely. These measures were effective in bringing the number of new daily cases down to a low level, allowing for restrictions to ease and the country to begin to recover.
However, since the lockdown was lifted in late July, Covid-19 cases in Nepal have risen sharply, with around 90% of cases in the country having been reported during this time. The number of cases in some provinces are beginning to outweigh the availability of beds in public health centres. Many hospitals have limited their general services in favour of coronavirus care facilities which has been crucial for treating infected patients. This decision, however, has meant that more and more people are not accessing treatment for other health concerns. These issues are exacerbated at rural health facilities, where their capacity to care for patients may soon be exceeded by the number of new Covid-19 cases.
In response, the Government of Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population recently announced a Rapid Action Plan (Oct 2020-Feb 2021). Crucially, the Department of Health Services are making provisions to procure equipment and facilities for health centres based on predictions of new cases and where they are likely to occur across the country. Ensuring that hospitals have adequate provisions such as ICU beds, ventilators, WASH and PPE items to match these predictions will be vital for mitigating the risk posed by a spike in new cases. The plan also includes measures to increase the capacity of PCR-test labs, as well as plans for improved dissemination of information and messages to ensure people are complying with individual and collective public health rules.
As winter approaches, the coming months are set to be a difficult time period in Nepal’s ongoing struggle with Covid-19. The rapid rise in cases since the end of the national lockdown suggests that stricter measures may be necessary, and that public awareness of the virus may be lacking. PHASE Worldwide will continue to support vulnerable communities through our Covid-19 Rapid Response; maintaining essential health services and improving education and awareness for the communities we support in Nepal.
Join PHASE Worldwide and PHASE Nepal for our Covid-19 Rapid Response Update Webinar on Thursday 19th November 2020. The webinar will be hosted by PHASE Worldwide Director Tom Edwards who will be joined by Ganesh Shrestha, Project Manager of PHASE Nepal, to offer an update on the response in Nepal so far.
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