Images courtesy of Caritas Nepal
Since late November 2020, Nepal has seen a steady decrease in its COVID-19 cases. However, attitudes towards disease prevention measures have become lax as the arrival of the new B.1.6.2 variant and the return of 1 million labour migrants from outbreak areas in India back to Nepal, saw a steep spike in COVID-19 cases.
Between April 1 – April 10 2021, the number of daily confirmed cases jumped from 152 to more than 9,500, surpassing its peak of 5,743 cases in October 2020. More than 100,000 persons have also been isolated at home. The surge in numbers crippled the country’s healthcare system as the Health Ministry said that “the cases have spiked beyond the capacity of the health system and hospitals have run out of beds.”
The Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Caritas Nepal (CN) made a rapid assessment on May 7-9th 2021, and have identified the need for oxygen cylinders, IPC and PPE supplies and testing kits and means to support those in home isolation.
On May 10 2021, the Ministry of Health and Population (MoPH) issued an urgent appeal for support.
CHARIS has pledged S$60,000 to Caritas Nepal (CN) to support their efforts in improving quality of healthcare. This includes the distribution of oxygen cylinders, oxygen concentrators personal protection equipment (PPE) to 12 hospitals and the supporting of existing isolation centers with blankets, beds, medical equipment, medicines and isolation kits (basic hygiene items, masks, sanitizers and thermometers). Isolation kits were also distributed to homes through CN regional offices.