Help pours in for Nepal to fight the Covid pandemic

Reported By: Saloni Murarka WION
Kathmandu Published: May 20, 2021, 07:46 PM(IST)

Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli Photograph:( ANI )

Story highlights

With a population of 30 million people, Nepal has been facing a severe COVID-19 resurgence

After Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli's appeal to the international community, help has been coming from different corners of the world to Nepal to help it fight the Covid pandemic.

Nepal started its vaccination drive in January with 2.35 million doses of the AstraZeneca shot provided by India and Covax. Nepal has indicated that no vaccines are left and 1.55 million people are waiting for their second dose.

With a population of 30 million people, Nepal has been facing a severe COVID-19 resurgence. The government has finally started procurement process of COVID-19 vaccines from India and Russia.  There is a shortage of hospital beds, oxygen and other medical equipment and the virus has taken a toll over the country’s health care infrastructure. 

Besides India, several countries in the world have offered a helping hand to Nepal.

China

China had committed help of more than USD 700 thousand worth of medical help to Nepal.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian had committed to help Nepal and said, “China will continue to do its best to offer support to Nepal in its fight against COVID-19. We believe the Nepalese people will defeat the virus at an early date.”

In first batch, 400 oxygen cylinders, 10 ventilators and 170 concentrators were donated to Nepal by China.

Ambassador Hou Yanqi confirmed that China's Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) provided Nepal with 30,000 litres of liquid oxygen, 800 oxygen cylinders, 10 oxygen concentrators, 5 ventilators, 200 ICU beds and 15,000 antigen kits.  

United States

The United States has provided a total of USD 45.1 million worth of assistance to Nepal through USAID in response to the pandemic. 

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, USAID’s COVID-19 assistance has reached over 55 percent of the population across Nepal by working with partners at the community, municipal, and federal levels to provide life-saving treatments, equipment, and services,” according to the American Embassy in Nepal. 

Nepal has received 100 ventilators, 10,000 PPE kits from the US so far. On May 13, Department of Defence (DoD) announced an additional USD 2.75 million in emergency funding that will provide oxygen cylinders and liquid oxygen storage tanks.

The Embassy said that the United States was the largest donor to COVAX, and had committed USD 2 billion to the program, with another USD 2 billion to come. Nepal was among the first in Asia to receive COVAX donations.

USAID had earlier said that 8,500 pieces of critically needed commodities have been provided to hospitals across Nepal. 

UK

On Thursday (May 20), British Ambassador to Nepal Nicola Pollit met Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. 

Surya Thapa, press advisor to PM Oli said that the PM thanked UK for its support and requested AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines for Nepal. 

“Pleased UK is providing oxygen plant already sustaining over 150 lives a day, funding for temporary Covid treatment centres in Pokhara and Bhaktapur, and medical equipment to hotspots across the country,” Pollit said in a tweet. 

Earlier this month, the country had installed duplex oxygen plant at Nepal Police Headquarters Hospital in Maharajgunj with the capacity to generate 160 large cylinders of oxygen in a day.

Nepal Foreign Affairs Minister Pradeep Gyawali and UK State Minister Lord Tariq Ahmad exchanged views on the challenges in a virtual interaction that took place on May 19.

The European Union

The EU has provided key COVID-19 equipment and supplies including oxygen cylinders, oxygen concentrators, home care kits, diagnostics including antigen test kits, personal protection equipment. 

According to an official statement, Nepal has also activated the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. Finland is the first member state to offer more than 2 million surgical facemasks, 350,000 FFP2 masks, 52500 pairs of vinyl gloves and 30,000 isolation gowns.

On May 12, the EU announced that it would provide 2 million Euros in emergency humanitarian aid to Nepal. 

Spain

Spain through the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), has sent a humanitarian cargo to Nepal to help halt the spread of the disease.

The shipment, with more than 5 tonnes of health material, includes 15 respirators, 10 oxygen concentrators, together with consumables and spare parts necessary for their use, 144000 FFP2 face masks and some 125000 antigen tests.

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