DHANGADHI, July 20: European Union Ambassador to Nepal, Nona Deprez, has inaugurated the newly-constructed Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), health and protection-based facilities at Gauriphanta and Gaddachauki ground crossing points of Sudurpashchim Province on July 20, Wednesday.
The facilities have been built under the auspices of the “Effective case management by strengthening isolation centers and ground crossing points (GCPs) management for rapid response and preparedness against COVID-19” project implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) under the leadership of Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population, with financial support from the European Union Humanitarian Aid, and in implementing partnership with ‘Save the Children’ and local support ‘Nepal National Social Welfare Association’.
During the event, Ambassador Deprez said, “It is our responsibility to provide basic facilities at the border points for those thousands of Nepalese migrant workers traveling to and from India, who must undergo medical examinations, sometimes having to wait for more than three hours.”
“I am pleased that, thanks to the European Union, those facilities such as waiting room, drinking water, and breast-feeding center have been established as part of the Health Desk at the borders to facilitate a smooth health checkup for migrant workers who are contributing to sustain their households as well as to the country’s economy,” she added.
The project aims to support the local and provincial governments of targeted six border points – Jamunaha and Krishnanagar of Lumbini Province, Inaruwa/Birgunj of Madhesh Province, and Kakarbhitta of Province 1 along with the two aforementioned locations. Similarly, health-based facilities, wash facilities and protection mechanisms to raise awareness about human rights and easy access to immediate basic protection services, are said to be under development at all six targeted locations.
The project is intended to address the gaps identified at the ground-crossing points of 1,870 kilometers long open border following the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country in mid-2021, including low testing capacity, insufficient screening, recording and reporting of migrant movement and COVID-19 positive cases, lacking protection referral services and lacking access to isolation centers for identified positive cases.