Like many other countries, there has been a large and sudden outbreak of COVID-19 cases in Nepal. The country initiated a nationwide lockdown on March 24 in an attempt to keep the count from rising above 1,000 cases. The strategy worked successfully until May 29 when the World Health Organization reported a sudden escalation of 17,000 cases in Nepal, making it the fourth-most infected country in Southeast Asia. Local media claimed that this surge occurred due to the return of Nepali citizens who had been working in other COVID-19 affected countries. Despite the increase of found cases, the Nepali government only conducted testing on less than 1% of its 29 million population. This stimulated fears that the actual case count is much higher than expected or predicted. Unfortunately, the unavailability of reliable medical equipment has hampered efforts to address and prevent COVID-19 in Nepal.
Direct Relief Background
Direct Relief is renowned for its consistent dedication to helping people around the world recover from natural disasters, humanitarian crises and widespread medical emergencies such as Ebola. In addition, Direct Relief raised and delivered $1.17 billion in aid resources to various countries in 2019. Now, Direct Relief is focusing its aim on the far-reaching impacts of COVID-19 globally.
History of Direct Relief’s Help in Nepal
Direct Relief has a long history of helping Nepal through times of crisis. Since beginning its work with Nepal in 2008, Direct Relief has provided more than $67 million worth of medical aid to local healthcare providers. After the 2015 earthquake that killed approximately 9,000 Nepali people, the organization focused on providing on-the-ground assistance in the form of equipment, medicine and trained paramedics. Additionally, Direct Relief repaired destroyed medical facilities and provided mobile assistance for those who could not access what care centers were left.
It is important to note that Nepal is greatly dependent on India for resources. Further, because of the border lockdown, access to medical supplies became severely limited. Nepal is also a mountainous country since it is home to both the Himalayas and Mount Everest. This type of terrain makes it extraordinarily difficult to properly distribute supplies.
Direct Relief’s Assistance During COVID-19 Pandemic
In response to the rise of COVID-19 in Nepal, Direct Relief distributed medication, prepared ICU kits and supplied in-person treatment for those infected. Because of its efforts, Direct Relief has successfully acquired and circulated equipment to hospitals all across Nepal. While the borders remain closed and resources are still limited, Direct Relief continues to fight for Nepal and other developing countries in similar situations. Of note, Direct Relief delivered more than 2 million pounds of medicine in Nepal alone.
COVID-19 is a large hurdle to overcome. It is one that can appear seemingly insurmountable for countries struggling to provide sustainable aid for its population. However, it is a threat that can be targeted and minimized with the right kind of effort. Direct Relief continues to apply this effort for the many millions who still suffer around the world.
– Nicolette Schneiderman