U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced emergency assistance to help Nepal battle its deadly COVID-19 surge. The first of three flights departed for Kathmandu carrying surgical masks, face shields, and gloves to protect thousands of health care workers in Nepal. This is the first of a series of flights to Nepal and other countries in South Asia as the region experiences this latest surge.
Today’s announcement builds on USAID’s efforts to help Nepal battle rising COVID-19 cases and contain transmission. In the past three weeks, USAID has provided more than $15 million to help the Government of Nepal scale up COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, treatment, and infection prevention. USAID is also helping procure oxygen related supplies and repair oxygen-generating systems throughout the country. This recent assistance, in addition to support over the past 15 months, brings USAID’s total assistance to Nepal for COVID-19 to more than $50 million. USAID’s historical investment, over the last 20 years, totals $600 million to improve the quality of health services in Nepal.
Since the pandemic began, USAID support to fight COVID-19 has benefitted more than 60 percent of Nepal’s population. USAID has helped expand Nepal’s COVID-19 testing lab network from a single lab to 87 labs to ensure nationwide coverage. Over the past six months alone, USAID has provided Nepal with COVID-19 testing equipment, oxygen cylinders, pulse oximeters, PPE for health care workers, disinfection supplies, thermometers, arterial blood gas machines, and other life-saving medical equipment. In November 2020, USAID donated 100 ventilators to 51 hospitals throughout Nepal and the National Ambulance Service to aid critically-ill COVID-19 patients.