Nepal’s health sector fails to cope with second wave epidemic: Amnesty International

Amnesty International claims that Nepal’s health sector has failed to cope with the second wave of coronavirus epidemics.

A report by Amnesty International has suggested that leaders who have been embroiled in political tensions in recent years put aside their differences and take decisive action to save lives in the coming weeks.

The report titled ‘Struggling to Breathe: The Second Wave of Covid-19 in Nepal’ focuses on the efforts made to control the epidemic from April 29 to May 2 and the challenges faced by the public health infrastructure.

Amnesty International

Officials at the Ministry of Health, however, said that despite the efforts of government agencies to combat the epidemic, there were some problems in coordinating the three tiers with limited resources.

The main topics covered by Amnesty International are:

1) Nepal’s health infrastructure is unable to withstand the epidemic

The report discusses that the second wave of coronavirus epidemic has placed a heavy burden on the health system of sensitive Nepal.

It is said that immediate steps should be taken by the government and the international community to protect Nepal’s public health sector.

Niranjan Thapaliya, director of Amnesty International’s Nepal branch, said the government’s poor preparedness had led to many deaths due to a lack of oxygen and other essential life-saving supplies, a failure of Nepal’s health infrastructure.

“We also spoke to some of the health workers. According to them, the government’s response has been inadequate and ad hoc decisions have resulted in deaths due to lack of state-of-the-art medical equipment and ventilators,” he said.

“We have said this in view of the fact that lives were lost due to lack of adequate preparation.”

2) Question on insensitivity of political leadership and institutional coordination

Amnesty International has expressed concern over the impact of the Covid-19 response on political leaders in Nepal due to internal strife and administrative turmoil amid a desperate lack of resources.

In a statement, he called on Nepal’s leaders to put aside their differences and take decisive action to save lives.

Yamini Mishra, Amnesty’s Asia-Pacific director, said Nepalese authorities should prioritize the purchase and supply of oxygen, which has been hampered by inactivity and administrative strife.

Thapaliya said there was an analysis report that people had lost their lives due to the epidemic as delays were delayed due to political tensions.

Thapaliya said that even now, the political process is more important than the process of purchasing vaccines to address the public health risks and protecting the starving population.

3) The impact of the epidemic on the marginalized community

Stating that the marginalized community has been facing severe discrimination since the first lockdown, the study cites an increase in the incidence of caste discrimination compared to 2019.

Access and access to hospital beds for the affluent and wealthy are not seen in the second tier, leaving marginalized communities at greater risk.

In its recommendations, Amnesty International has called on the government to ensure that minorities and marginalized communities have access to information on health care, vaccines and COVID-19.

The report also draws the government’s attention to ensuring equitable access to vaccines and other health items.

4) Suggestions for information flow based on facts

Amnesty’s report states that “information leading to the capture of Covid-19 by a number of government officials has resulted in the risk of death.”

The government has been advised to disseminate factual and scientific information based on international standards.

According to the report, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said that ginger, turmeric and garlic would enhance the ability to fight the virus and that many senior leaders had violated social norms.

Initially, Prime Minister Oli had publicly stated that Nepalis had a strong immune system.

5) Emphasis on international aid and vaccine supply

Amnesty’s report emphasizes the need for the international community to increase financial and technical assistance to Nepal in fulfilling its responsibility to its citizens.

It also called for the provision of health-related equipment and vaccines, urging them not to enter into bilateral agreements that would weaken the global supply of vaccines.

“The world is in an ‘unfortunate situation’ where rich countries are stockpiling vaccines. It is the responsibility of the international community to ensure that everyone has equal access to vaccines,” Thapaliya said.

What do government officials say?

Joint Spokesperson of the Ministry of Health Sameer Kumar Adhikari said that he did not agree with the notion that Nepal’s health infrastructure had failed and admitted that there were some problems in coordination.

He said, “Of the 32,000 health workers, more than 26,000 are at the local level and about 2,500 are at the local level

The employees are in the state.

“The current epidemic has shown that we don’t have the system we used to have to be able to do the things above and the things below. We need to strengthen them in a new way.”

He said that some public health provisions could not be implemented due to lack of understanding among the people’s representatives everywhere.

He described the “bitter reality” that vaccine supplies had not been received, despite discussions at the highest levels of the country.

He said that the government has a policy of distributing the vaccine to all the communities including the backward ones.

Mentioning that funds have been released in the budget for the establishment of the oxygen plant, the official said that there were some problems as Nepal could not go into the global competitive procurement process and would not be given priority like the big strategic countries.

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