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Nepal has been facing a rapid surge in coronavirus cases since mid-April. The catastrophic situation in India threatens to spill over into the poorer neighbouring country. 40 per cent of all persons tested in Nepal are positive. The number of unreported cases is likely to be alarmingly high as there is no widespread testing.
Even in normal times, the weak, hugely under-resourced Nepalese healthcare system suffers from a shortage of hospital beds and staff everywhere. Now it is facing collapse. Equipment specifically needed in the pandemic, such as personal protective equipment, test kits or life-saving oxygen is scarce. The situation is particularly serious in the south of the country, on the border with India. Today, it is almost impossible for those affected to receive urgently needed medical care.
Once again, the poorer people are especially disadvantaged. The hospitals officially designated for Covid-19 patients, which are correspondingly better equipped, are mostly expensive private hospitals.
Focus on medical equipment
Caritas Switzerland is supporting an emergency aid project started by Caritas Nepal. Together, we will strengthen health care for poor people. Depending on the region and the most urgent needs, Caritas is providing medical equipment, in particular oxygen cylinders, oxygen concentrators oxygen measuring devices and other medical equipment. In addition, isolation centres are being set up for people who cannot isolate at home but don’t require medical care in a hospital. Personal protective equipment such as gloves, masks and disinfectants for the healthcare workers and the population is being distributed. Finally, Caritas informs about the risks associated with coronavirus and appropriate protective measures and is setting up telephone helplines.
Nepalese who make a living as guest workers in India are now returning to their home country. They can barely find any work. Local day labourers are also finding it difficult to earn enough for their basic needs such as food and housing, due to the coronavirus restrictions. Caritas is planning to support these families with food aid. To make this possible, we need your support.
Thanks to your donation, we can help even more Nepalese people in this devastating situation.