By Dr. Suresh Tamang (Country Advisor, Nepal)
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread around the world, Nepal faces a unique healthcare and humanitarian crisis.
As of this writing, Nepal has been in a strict lockdown for nearly two months. During this time, the healthcare system in Nepal has been pushed to its limits as COVID-19 has taken the highest priority, leaving other patients unable to receive critical care for potentially threatening health conditions. With limited resources, there is not enough healthcare supplies and protective gear.
With cases rising even under lockdown, Nepal is quickly running out of testing kits and supplies. The country has only 3349 isolation beds, 396 ICU beds and 156 ventilators, 12 of which were recently supported by NGOs. Furthermore, many in Nepal are out of jobs, and the economy as a whole has been hit hard.
The combination of Nepal’s previously open border, high population, and relatively lower socio-economic conditions all add to the struggle that Nepal is facing.
Featured Partner: Sano Paila
Give2Asia’s local nonprofit partners in Nepal are making a difference in the lives of the people and helping them make it through this global crisis. One such organization is Sano Paila (“Little Step”), a non-profit organization running the Feeding Nepal Campaign.
This campaign has served over 17,000 meals to poor and daily wage earners in Nepal, many of whom have been hit hard and lost their sources of incomes. Sano Paila has also served food to the Dalits, a discriminated group under the Nepali caste system that has also strongly felt the impact of COVID-19.
Sano Paila, supported by donations and volunteers, has also been working on improving healthcare infrastructure. Their staff is disinfecting hospitals and police stations, delivering Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to frontline workers, and setting up contactless testing stations. Most recently, Sano Paila has taken over feeding 4 cooked meals a day to all isolated patients at Narayani Hospital in Birgunaj, one of the major provincial hospitals serving the province, which has been one of the most impacted by COVID-19.
Featured Partner: KOSHISH Nepal
COVID-19 is also severely impacting psycho-social [mental] wellbeing, which in turn can take a toll on physical health. KOSHISH Nepal, a non-profit based in Kathmandu, works to provide mental health care and free psycho-social first aid and counseling by phone, while also providing meals to those in need. In Nepal, there is a lack of psycho-social health resources, and KOSHISH is working to fill that gap. They started by providing resources and care to many homeless people, before expanding to their current stage: treatment, rehabilitation, lobbying for more structural support, and all the COVID-19 specialized support.
During this time period, they have been able to reach over 560 Nepali in need of mental health care. KOSHISH Nepal’s specialized focus provides free services such as consultations, management of mental health issues and availability of medicine, along with addressing any concerns during this stressful and uncertain times. KOSHISH works to help with problems that may not be immediately visible, and this support is invaluable.
All this work done daily to help the healthcare system and alleviate some concerns is both important and helpful, but there is still work to be done. Given the current situation and conditions in Nepal, there is a high potential for future COVID-19 spread if the lockdown is lifted, especially if the current lack of testing continues.
The Nepal COVID-19 response is greatly supported by non-profits funded by donations working to help the impacted Nepali. There are immediate needs that must be addressed, and with their local expertise and involvement, non-profits are uniquely key to meeting those needs. They are directly engaging with the people, working daily on the ground to help them.
Donors make it possible for nonprofits to supply all this support. Along with firsthand aid for the people of Nepal, increasing testing capabilities and medical supplies is essential to the national public health response. Supporting the public health system in Nepal means supporting the frontline workers and health care system facing the pandemic along with resolving all complications that arise.
However, the focus is not just on the short-term. In the future, donors can also support long-term economic recovery as Nepal and the world begin to move forward.
Crisis in Numbers (As of 5/21/20)
Population – 28 Million
RDT tested/preliminary – 78,695
Tested [RT-PCR] – 38,736
Quarantined – 25,060
Quarantine Beds – 67,419
Isolation Beds – 3349
Isolated – 401
Infected – 453
Recovered – 49
Deaths – 3
HOW TO GIVE
To make an online donation to Give2Asia’s COVID-19 response fund, use our online donation form. Your gift will support local nonprofits that can make the biggest impact in the country of your choice.
Give2Asia is a trusted partner for international philanthropy and the leader in donor-advised grantmaking to the Asia-Pacific. Since 2001, Give2Asia has facilitated more than $350 million of charitable grants across 23 countries. Give2Asia is a US-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.