The news reports out of India over the past few months have been heart-breaking as the country has experienced a disastrous, second COVID-19 outbreak, resulting in over 400,000 new cases daily at its peak. Now, Nepal is suffering a similar fate with a devastating second wave of COVID-19. Latest reports are that Nepal is considering declaring a health emergency as the virus rampages across its country. BlinkNow Foundation, a Together Women Rise grantee, recently posted on its Facebook page that the number of COVID-19 cases in Nepal has increased over 2000% in the past month. BlinkNow also states that nearly 65 per cent of COVID-19 tests in their region have been positive.
As with the first wave of COVID-19 in March 2020, our grantees have stepped up to protect their communities, including the women and girls we support, in both Nepal and India. Here are just a few examples:
BlinkNow Foundation – In order to protect the children and families that it serves, BlinkNow has once again suspended its programs. At the Kopila Valley School, senior students are finishing their courses through Zoom lessons, while younger students have been provided home learning materials to allow them to finish this academic year from home. The children in its Children’s Home will once again quarantine at home to limit exposure from the community.
One Heart Worldwide (OHW) team in Nepal handed over 125 oxygen cylinders to the Government of Nepal on May 20. Nepal has been suffering from an acute shortage of oxygen that is needed to save thousands of lives infected by COVID-19. Most of the oxygen cylinders have been sent outside Kathmandu to 10 hotspot districts, where the cases of infections have increased beyond the capacity of local health management. See OHW’s latest update.
Nepal Youth Foundation (NYF) has opened its first COVID Isolation Center in its Kathmandu Nutritional Rehabilitation Home. This resource is designed to allow individuals to isolate away from their families, to slow the spread. Patients are under the observation of trained medical professionals who know when an individual needs care in a hospital setting, and the ambulance ride to the hospital is provided free of charge. Listen to NYF’s President interviewed in this BBC News report.
Asia Initiatives is helping to retrofit several of their education facilities into COVID Care Centers with oxygen, beds, and critical medicines as shown in this video. It is committed to providing long-term support to people in their projects, as the loss of lives and livelihoods will take many years to recover from, especially for families who are losing their sole bread winners. As they did last year, Asia Initiatives plans to create more Environmental Resilience Projects, such as rain water harvesting, to provide post-COVID jobs.