Report from Nepal
Kamala Nepali , a nurse serving in a government hospital in Nepalgunj city, a metropolitan adjoining India border herself is infected by Covid -19 . But instead of taking rest, she is serving the patients overflowing in Covid ward where she works. Since the hospital lacks the health workers, Kamala has none other option than to keep on working amidst her illness.
In a virtual interview with an international media, she was reporting the pathetic condition of the situation she is working on. Number of patients, almost all in dire need of oxygen is surging day after day. Kamala and her colleagues are doing their utmost but limitation of health equipments and accessories such as ICU beds, ventilators, oxygen etc. ties them to helplessness, adding their despair and exhaustion.
Kamala is a representative of all of health workers fighting on the frontline against the pandemic in Nepal today. Government of Nepal itself has conspicuously admitted its inability to take control of outspread of the virus. Number of Covid cases is surging, about 8-9 thousands per day continuous for several days. This number is not a small one in a country with total of 30 million populations. According to local media, the infection rate is more than 47 percent, higher than in India, the latest hotspot of the Pandemic. Higher infection rate has led to higher mortality rate. Daily mortality rate is more than 2 hundred in average and it’s in increasing trend.
Among 76 districts, 66 districts are under lockdown since about a month. Public life is paralyzed and economy is in crisis. Unlike the first wave of Covid that Nepal faced last year, the second wave is more contagious and fatal. Number of Covid patients is thicker among the youths. Even the young people of 25-35 are severely sick and dying. Unlike previous wave, this time whole family members are found positive soon after any of them are infected.
Hospitals even in Kathmandu, the capital city and other big cities are overwhelmed and people are dying because they are not getting beds in hospitals. Sailendra Salike has expressed his pain on a social media for not being able to save her mother. His family knocked almost all hospitals in Kathmandu hoping a bed for his dying mother. But they didn’t found any bed and his mother closed her eyes gasping in an ambulance.
Tweets and status in social media are overflowing, urging netizens for help finding ICU and ventilators for their dear ones. But Covid patients are breathing last breath only because they couldn’t get oxygen in time. Hospitals even in Kathmandu are asking government authorities for oxygen supply and oxygen cylinders. Some hospitals in Kathmandu ultimately decided to stop take-in the covid patients because of inadequacy of essential health accessories.
Patients are being treated in the premises and courtyards of all of the covid dedicated hospitals in Kathmandu and other major hotspots as all beds are occupied. As the number of covid patients is overwhelming, the optimal capacity of the health system is failing. One of the senior medical officer from a well known government health institution declared the failure of health system in Nepal and vehemently criticized the lack of government initiatives.
Unlike the previous wave, the second wave broke the wall of rural Nepal. People in rural areas are also infected densely equally as the urbanites, leading much worrisome condition. Even minimal health facilities are rarefied in those areas.
Inadequacy of oxygen cylinder, though sounds very trifle, is the major challenge to bid the uncontrolled outburst of Covid virus. People in dire need of medicaloxygen and cylinder are queuing outside the oxygen generating facilities. Government though has formed a high level task force to resolve the acute shortage of medical oxygen, is lagging behind than the rapidity of demand.
PM KP Oli in an interview with an international media claimed that the pandemic is ‘under the government control’ contrasting to the ground reality. Actual condition in Nepal is totally different and opposite to his statement. Uncontrolled deteriorating condition of Nepal speaks just opposite of PM statement. Truth is Pandemic in Nepal is uncontrolled. Unless International community and friendly nations extend hands of solidarity and support, the havoc condition will be tougher to take under control.
Burning pyre of cremation will raise higher day after day.
Less than Five percent of total population in Nepal is inoculated and Nepal has no vaccine left in its stock. Nepal has inoculated 2 million and 8 hundred thousands vaccines provided by two neighboring countries.
India provided 1 million vaccines as assistance and Nepal government purchased 1 million from Serom Institute of India. Since India itself is inundated in the pandemic from March, possibility is rare to get more vaccines from India immediately. Besides China, another neighboring country has granted 8 million anti-covid vaccines. Second jap of China-made vaccine is under plan to be inoculated from 16 May.
China’s assistance to Nepal in every adverse time has always been more than admirable. Since the foundation of Peoples’ Republic of China, Beijing always stood with Nepal in every hard days. History has given us ample examples. Now when Nepal is fighting against draconian virus, it’s China who stood in frontline in assistance to Nepal. At a time when Nepal is in acute shortage of oxygen cylinder and oxygen concentrators, China is granting 35 hundred of Oxygen cylinders. First batch of the medical assistance landed in Kathmandu on 11 May, making Nepali people hopeful and thankful. According to the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu the first batch of assistance including 400 oxygen cylinders and 10 ventilators along with more than 170 oxygen concentrators arrived Kathmandu on Tuesday, May 11.
Those equipments will certainly save and give life to many ailing Nepali people. What can be the purest solidarity and humanitarian service other than giving breathes and saving life of ordinary people. Our ‘friend indeed’ and ‘friend in need’ China is helping us to save our countrymen and women. No word can be sufficient to admire Chinese graciousness. Nepal and Nepali people will never forget the support China provided in our adverse days and will always hail the friendly solidarity extended towards Nepal.