RSS (KATHMANDU, 9 September 2020) – Minister for Health and Population Bhanubhakta Dhakal has asserted that the government of Nepal has accorded highest priority to public health programmes and prevention and control of the COVID-19. Addressing the WHO’s Regional Office for South-East Asia’s 73rd assembly virtually from Nepal today, Minister Dhakal shared that the capacity for conducting PCR tests, building isolation facilities, carrying out contact tracing and import capacity were fully strengthened in the places with higher population density and higher occurrence of COVID-19 cases in Nepal.
Stating that Nepal’s experience in emergency response in cases of natural disasters such as 2015’s earthquake and subsequent small health crisis had further enhanced Nepal’s capacity in preparedness and response for the COVID-19 pandemic, Dhakal further explained that Nepal’s experiences in establishment of Health Emergency Centres, formation of Emergency Medical Development Team and establishment and expansion of the Hub Hospitals had further enabled Nepal to deal with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
Furthermore, he said, “Although health services were disrupted to some extent, Nepal has made many efforts to continue essential health services and prioritize public health programmes.” According to him, the government ensured the regular and smooth operation of the all health facilities across the country since the lockdown ordered in the country from March 24 to contain the spread of COVID-19. The Minister also lauded the contribution of the WHO and its staffers in prevention and control of COVID-19 and in continuation of the essential healthcare services as well as public health related activities despite the ongoing global health crisis due to COVID-19 pandemic.
The Minister spoke of the need for the telemedicine and call centres, which were alternative to the conventional way of rendering healthcare services to the patients, be made an integral part of the mechanism for reform of the health system. On the occasion, Minister Dhakal shared that Nepal, despite many disruption and issues, had successfully launched national campaign for vaccination against measles and rubella and polio in 19 of the 77 districts of the country. He called for the need to set an exemplary precedent of collective effort among the regional countries in the fight against this pandemic. “This South-East region is very rich in Ayurveda and other alternative healthcare system. We ought to collaborate to identify the possibilities for solutions for the health crisis.” On the occasion, the Minister proudly shared that Nepal could achieve cent per cent control of the Hepatitis B in the country in 2019 and was aiming to eradication of tuberculosis.