Covid-19 Emergency Response

Covid-19 Emergency Response

The Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown caused by it stopped people from working and engaging in economic activities. This created unemployment as well as forced businesses to either downsize or shut their doors. This affected everyone but the main victims were the poor people as they don’t have savings to use. Assessing the situation, Ace the Himalaya in association with Sambhav Nepal provided logistics support and some financial and human resource assistance for the organization to successfully carry out a relief supply campaign. In Kathmandu, about 850 poor families were provided with relief supplies. Each of these families has about 2 to 6 members. And, in Gorkha, the poorest people of Dharche and Arughtat Rural Municipality were provided with said relief supplies. The distributed relief food supplies contained the following: rice, cooking oil, salt, lentils, and soap.

Medical Supplies:

It was both financially and logistically difficult for local governments of the rural areas to manage medical supplies needed to fight Covid-19 and prevent & contain the spread of the virus. Gorkha, the project area of Sambhav Nepal, was one such district that was having a hard time tackling the Covid-19 pandemic. So, we decided to purchase and transfer the necessary medical supplies to all the local governments of Gorkha to make it easier for them. After we gave the medical equipment, they distributed it to villages and health posts accordingly. All 2 municipalities and 9 rural municipalities of Gorkha where we provided the medical supplies are:

  1. Gorkha Municipality
  2. Palungtar Municipality
  3. Sulikot Rural Municipality
  4. Siranchowk Rural Municipality
  5. Ajirkot Rural Municipality
  6. Tsum Nubri Rural Municipality
  7. Dharche Rural Municipality
  8. Bhimsen Thapa Rural Municipality
  9. Sahid Lakhan Rural Municipality
  10. Aarughat Rural Municipality
  11. Gandaki Rural Municipality

We distributed the following to the local governments of Gorkha:

  • 200 hand sanitizer bottles
  • 40 thermal guns
  • 50,000 surgical masks
  • 6,800 viral transport mediums (VTMs)

The importance and uses of the medical supplies are described here. Hand sanitizers are used to clean the hands and kill any viruses. Hands are the most active body parts that touch a large number of things and surfaces and they need to be cleaned regularly. Hand sanitizers were mostly used in health posts. Thermal guns are useful to measure body temperature because fever is one of the common symptoms of Covid-19. They were used in health posts, local government offices, and village entry & exit points. Masks are the most important and accessible shield against viruses and stop them from entering our body through the mouth and nose. They were distributed to local villagers, journalists, government workers, and health professionals by local governments. And, VTMs are portable storage tubes that are used to hold swabs collected from suspected patients and transport them to the PCR labs to test whether the patients are infected or not. They were used in swab-collection centers.

Medical Supplies for Schools and Students:

In late January 2021, a Sambhav Nepal team visited Gorkha on a Covid-19 Emergency Response trip. The objective was to visit as many as schools it is possible over several days and distribute medical supplies to them so that they can fight and prevent the Covid-19 virus. During our trip we distributed the following items to 139 schools, directly benefiting 18,554 students and teachers:

  1. 56,766 reusable cotton masks
  2. 22,240 bars of hand washing soap
  3. 140 thermal guns

The schools and students were from 4 rural municipalities:

  1. Tsum Nubri Rural Municipality
  2. Dharche Rural Municipality
  3. Arughat Rural Municipality
  4. Bhimsen Thapa Rural Municipality

The majority of students of these mountain schools come from weaker economic backgrounds. In addition, the lockdown caused by Covid-19 affected the income of their parents. So, the students and their parents along with the teachers were extremely grateful for the help we provided.

Himalayan Ambulance

On June 09, 2021, when the second Covid-19 wave was still strong and in its peak, under our Himalayan Ambulance  project, we distributed 6 fully-equipped 4WD Mahindra Bolero ambulances and essential medical supplies to 1 municipality and 4 rural municipalities of Gorkha district. Their names, along with the number of ambulances, are:

  • Gorkha Municipality – 2
  • Bhimsen Thapa Rural Municipality – 1
  • Dharche Rural Municipality – 1
  • Gandaki Rural Municipality – 1
  • Sahid Lakhan Thapa Rural Municipality – 1

The distribution program was held at Gorkha Municipality Office and was attended by Chief District Officer of Gorkha, Chairpersons of the abovementioned municipalities and rural municipalities, community leaders, health workers and journalists. Our Founder Prem K Khatry represented Sambhav Nepal and personally handed over the ambulances along with medical supplies. The ambulances are properly equipped with necessary equipment such as stretcher, oxygen cylinder (with facemask, nozzle, meter & regulator), thermal gun, waiting seats, etc. Considering the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we made sure that all the ambulances could safely transfer the Covid-19 infected villagers to hospitals and health posts for treatment. In addition, we also distributed medical supplies such as PPEs, full oxygen cylinders with facemasks, nozzles, meters & regulators, surgical masks, hand sanitizers, thermal guns, pulse oxymeters, surgical gloves, antigen kits, VTMs and face shields. The ambulances and medical supplies were an enormous assistance to local governments, medical workers and villagers, especially when the Covid-19 crisis put a great pressure in the health system of Gorkha. Once the Covid-19 crisis is over, the ambulances will be used as the transportation for all kinds of patients in the remote villages of Gorkha.

Food Distribution to Chepangs and Tsum Nubri Residents:

Under our Covid-19 Food Distribution project, we distributed the relief supplies to:

  • The Tsum Nubri residents living in Kathmandu away from their families on July 30, 2021. 126 Tsum Nubri residents living in Kathmandu received the relief supplies at a Buddhist monastery in Kathmandu.
  • The Chepangs of Gandaki Rural Municipality, Gorkha on August 31, 2021. There were 832 Chepang families to receive the relief supplies in 4 distribution centers in Ward No 1, 2, 6 & 7 of Gandaki RM. About 5,412 Chepangs from these families benefited.

After learning about the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on these two groups of people, we decided to help them. The Tsum Nubri residents are mostly students studying at various Buddhist monasteries in Kathmandu. In addition, the monsoon rains disconnected them from their families in Tsum Nubri, Gorkha. The continuous large rains caused landslides, over-flooding in the Budhi Gandaki River and destroyed bridges & trails. On the other hand, the Chepangs are one of the poorest and marginalized ethnic groups of Nepal. They don’t hold farmable lands and the majority of them work as daily wage laborers. They don’t have savings and they weren’t able to work due to the lockdown and pandemic. Therefore, the relief supplies we just provided to them are a huge help. Our team led by Prem K Khatry distributed rice (Medium quality), lentils, salt, cooking oil, soap and masks to both groups, who were extremely happy to receive the supplies.

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