Caritas Nepal has extended its help to 20 hospitals from 14 districts in the South Asian country, which has been struggling to cope with the effects of the pandemic in the past year.
The current COVID-19 crisis has exhausted the healthcare system of most countries, even those in the most developed ones. But the brunt of its effects has been worse in poorer nations.
According to Devendra Pokharel, regional manager of Caritas Nepal, they believe that the medical supplies and equipment they delivered will help hospitals who have been struggling to deal with the pandemic. Caritas Nepal has provided oxygen cylinders, pulse oximeters, face shields, surgical masks, and other necessary equipment healthcare workers would need. (Read: Survey Says More Filipinos Now Willing to Get COVID-19 Vaccine)
Currently, the country is in the second wave of infections, and hospitals have been grappling with the new infections– mothers and babies fighting for their lives in the COVID ward of Paropkar Maternity and Women’s Hospital in Kathmandu.
Last year, Caritas Nepal also distributed 100,000 COVID-19 safety kits (includes masks, sanitizers, and thermal guns, among others), and put in place 100,000 handwashing stations in various rural and urban municipalities. The organization also provided food relief to over 7,000 households.
Nepal’s Current Healthcare Situation
Nepal is one of the world’s poorest nations, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). 45% of the entire population live under the poverty line, and 50% of children under three years old have stunted growth.
And this reflects in their healthcare system. Their hospitals lack emergency preparedness, and all hospital buildings are not up to par with earthquake-resistant standards. On top of that, WHO says the doctor-to-patient ratio is at 1:18,000–much worse than the Philippines, whose numbers are at 3.9:10,000 or around 1:2,500, based on 2017 data from WHO. (Read: Archbishop Urges Tacloban Residents To Get COVID-19 Vaccine)
As for Nepal’s current state during the pandemic, their total cases as of July 12 is already at 655,449. Active cases are at 26,173, and the death toll is at 9,382. Only 3% of the population, or 933,868 individuals, have been fully vaccinated, while 2.61 million have received their first doses.
The government has faced backlash for its slow vaccination, especially since its neighboring country India has been affected greatly by the new Delta variant of COVID-19.