CBM in Nepal – COVID-19 Hits Hard

Thursday, 15 Jul 2021

Image: Nirajan, SAPPROS Project Manager in Nepal, works from home during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Although Covid-19 infection rates in Nepal are on the decline after an all-time high in May, the negative impact on people’s mental health and wellbeing remains significant. For people to be able to recover and re-build their livelihoods, support for those most vulnerable, including communities where CBM and partners are working, is needed.

During the peak of the pandemic, increasing numbers of sick people put extra pressure on an under-resourced health system. This resulted in a lack of oxygen, vaccines and testing supplies, as well as staff in hospitals and clinics. In many parts of this mountainous country, hospitals are non-existent, making access to medical care extremely difficult.

While daily case numbers may be down, strict lockdown measures are still having a devastating impact on people’s health, wellbeing and livelihoods – particularly the poorest. They are still recoiling from the impact of the 2020 lockdowns.

For the CBM team, working amidst a lockdown has been an undeniable challenge. It requires flexibility, adaptability and agility to respond to those most in need. Country Director Suraj Sigdel told us:

‘Our partners are managing their projects with minimal movement in the field, however this time, it has become difficult as many of the staff and their family members are infected. Our Nepal team is regularly in communication with the partners [who] are observing the situation closely.’

One of these partners is SAPPROS Nepal who, with support from CBM Australia, has been part of the Covid-19 Emergency Response. They provided basic needs support, such as food, to people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups impacted by the pandemic. Nirajan, Project Manager (pictured), continues to lead his team and support the work from .

CBM Australia responded to the latest wave by re-directing funds in a Community Mental Health project in the Karnali region, using local partner skills and expertise to address the impact of the pandemic.  Support included training for health workers and Organisations of People with Disabilities in psychological first aid, stress and grief management, as well as psychological services to people in isolation centres, hospitals or home quarantine and providing for basic needs. Public service announcements over radio and via SMS provided mental health awareness and information about where to access support services.

Looking forward, CBM Australia is working with several partners to develop a new collaborative project in recognition that the recovery from this devastating crisis is far from over and will be long and difficult.

 


CBM Australia acknowledges the support of the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) for this work.

 

Australian Aid Logo. Red kangaroo illustration next to the text.

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