28 Apr 20
The coronavirus pandemic is with us all for the foreseeable future and as such we are increasingly concerned about its impact on vulnerable communities in the remote project areas we support in Nepal. Rudra Neupane, Programme Manager of PHASE Nepal and PHASE Worldwide Director Tom Edwards have recently shared the following key updates.
The situation in Nepal
The Government of Nepal (GoN) are taking steps to try and contain the virus and PHASE Nepal is following their advice alongside initiatives to help prevent and respond to outbreaks in project areas. The GoN has confirmed 52 total cases of coronavirus 28 April 2020 with a national lockdown prohibiting all movement on roads by vehicle and on foot until May 7 2020.
The risk of coronavirus in remote regions has increased due to the return of workers from India and the Middle East to Humla, Mugu, Bajura, Sindhupalchok and Gorkha. PHASE Nepal are:
- Using Covid-19 health desks to support community-level awareness and symptomatic diagnosis – with focused support given to vulnerable groups.
- Further supporting local government in ensuring minimum Ministry of Health standards are met in quarantine facilities.
- Providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to our health workers.
- Considering provision of diagnostic kits.
Whilst all regular project activities have been paused, health teams are continuing to provide vital emergency services. All PHASE supported health centres have backup medicines for at least six months and essential medical supplies for two months. The need for this work is more important than ever.
The situation in the UK
- In the UK, through our Big Lottery Funded Project, we are supporting the purchasing of PPE equipment in Gorkha.
- We are working closely with the programme team to find out how we can best support the response through flexible and new funding.
- Our Bristol office remains closed with staff working from home.
- We have taken advantage of the UK Government’s Job Retention scheme and 2/3 of our team have been placed on furlough. We apologise if there is a slower than usual response time to your communications.
- Staff have taken a 15% pay reduction for April and May.
These are uncertain and challenging times for all charities as donations significantly drop. However, we are determined, with your continued help, to support remote communities – not just against the pandemic but in long-term improvements to healthcare, education, and livelihoods. As the virus spreads, vulnerable communities will be affected most, making our work more important than ever. If you would like to talk to us about how your support can reach the most vulnerable in this crisis, please get in touch.
Thank you for your continued support.