Caritas Nepal helps hospitals fight pandemic
The social branch of the Catholic Church aims to help Nepalese hospitals by providing them with much-needed medical supplies, such as oxygen cylinders and protective gear.
By Vatican News reporter
The advocacy arm of the Catholic Church in Nepal has launched a joint effort with United States-based Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to provide much needed medical supplies to hospitals across the country amid the ongoing Covid crisis. 19, UCA News reported.
Help 20 hospitals
The Caritas Nepal program which will run from July to September aims to provide medical supplies to 20 hospitals in 14 districts of Nepal. They include oxygen cylinders, oxygen concentrators, pulse oximeters, face masks and personal protective equipment including isolation gowns, face shields, shoe covers, safety glasses, surgical caps, heavy duty gloves, surgical masks, surgical gloves and hand sanitizers.
On Thursday, Caritas Nepal delivered a shipment of medical items to the Paropkar maternity and women’s hospital in the capital Kathmandu. Dr Sunil Sharma Acharya, a hospital doctor gratefully accepted the shipment saying the equipment will be used by frontline workers to provide services to mothers and babies fighting for their lives in the hospital Covid service.
Devendra Pokharel, regional director of Caritas Nepal, said she believed the equipment would help hospitals that struggled to serve patients when the second wave of the pandemic triggered a high rate of infections and patients suffering from severe respiratory problems suffered from a lack of oxygen. A similar shipment was handed over to Mechi Hospital in Jhapa District, eastern Nepal.
Health and humanitarian aid
Since last year’s pandemic, Caritas Nepal has conducted a series of assistance programs for affected communities in 23 districts of the country with funding from partners and donors, including CRS.
Caritas Nepal has set up 150 units of hand washing stations established in rural and urban municipalities, distributed 10,000 units of Covid-19 safety kits (masks, disinfectant, heat guns, etc.) to individuals, health, health posts, quarantine centers and humanitarian workers. It has provided food assistance to over 7,000 households and over 24,000 smallholder farming households with agricultural inputs. In addition, he led a Covid-19 precautionary awareness campaign that affected 100,000 people.
Hindus make up more than 81% of the Nepalese population, Buddhists 9%, Muslims 4.4% and Christians 1.4%, according to the 2011 census. Nepal has only about 8,000 Catholics, but we estimates that 3-5 million Protestant and Evangelical Christians belong to around 12,000 churches, mostly based in poor rural central Nepal.
The Covid-19 situation in Nepal
The Himalayan nation reported 1,237 new cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, bringing the total number of infections to 655,449, the Kathmandu Post said citing the Department of Health and Population. The death toll to date has now reached 9,382. The number of active cases stands at 26,173. Local media say about half of infections and two-thirds of deaths have been recorded since the second wave. of the pandemic hit Nepal in April.
3% vaccination rate
The government has come under fire for negligence and unpreparedness amid a slow vaccination campaign as the highly contagious Delta variant wreaked havoc in neighboring India. Nepal’s fragile health system has collapsed and hospitals are struggling to find beds and oxygen for the overwhelming number of patients.
According to data provided by the ministry on Thursday, 2.61 million Nepalese received their first doses of the vaccine and 933,868 both doses. This indicates that only about 3 percent of the country’s roughly 30 million people have been fully immunized so far.
Meanwhile, just over 1.5 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine supplied by the United States via the COVAX facility, an international vaccine sharing program, arrived in Nepal on Monday. This is the first shipment of single injection vaccine Nepal has received. A few days earlier, 8 million doses of the Chinese Sinopharma vaccine arrived in the country.
Vaccinating as many citizens as possible has been seen as the best strategy nations around the world are trying to implement to defeat the virus.
Meanwhile, the impoverished South Asian nation is grappling with a political crisis. President Bidya Devi Bhandari dissolved the House of Representatives on December 20 and announced new elections on April 30 and May 10 on the recommendation of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, amid a power struggle within the Communist Party of Nepal ( PCN) in power. The President dissolved the House a second time on May 22, announcing early elections on November 12 and 19. But on Monday, the Supreme Court stepped in and reinstated the dissolved House, dealing a blow to Oli who currently heads a minority government. after losing a confidence vote in the House.