KATHMANDU, July 10: The Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS) has continued its efforts to procure the COVID-19 vaccines. The NRCS, through the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) which is partnering with the organization of humanitarian actions in Nepal, has intensified lobbying to get the COVID-19 vaccines.
The IFRC is also constantly pressing the vaccine manufacturing and rich nations to assist vaccines for the developing and impoverished countries through the COVAX-facility. The international organization has urged the vaccine manufacturing countries to supply vaccines proportionally on the need basis.
The World Health Organisation says only two per cent population of 50 countries that are classified as the poorest nations in the world have got the COVID-19 shot. Such countries are home to 17 per cent population of the world. It is said that 60-70 per cent people nationally and internationally are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for mass immunity against the virus.
NRCS general secretary Peetambar Acharya said they were continuing their efforts to bring in vaccines. “Vaccination is the sole means of controlling the epidemic on the long run.” Equity in access to vaccination for vulnerable communities has become a global challenge of the hour and the NRCS through it partners including IFRC is lobbying for increasing the import of vaccines to Nepal. “We have already written to the concerned bodies and high-level talks are going on. We are hopeful that positive results would come soon,” he said, adding that NRCS had sped up dialogues with the vaccine producing countries, especially China, the United Kingdom and the United States, about the situation in Nepal through the Red Cross societies of those countries.
General Secretary Aryal, who has a long experience in humanitarian service as the country director of the Nepal Red Cross, IFRC headquarters in Geneva and various countries, said, "Since the very beginning of COVID-19 control actions, we have been reaching out to the community with high priority." During the first wave of the epidemic, it had assisted the government for the managements of masks, sanitizers, PPEs, corpse management bags, and medical supplies required in the treatment of COVID-19 and for the orientation for frontline health workers. In addition to these, it had worked for raising public awareness, establishing COVID-19 quarantine and holding centers and providing psychosocial counseling, financial assistance to orphans and senior citizens and necessary blankets and tarpaulins to the needy.
The NRCS ambulances are turned into the COVID-19 vehicles and operators are trained on the personal protection rules and ways for mitigating the infection risk. It has mobilized its mechanism to cope with the potential shortage of blood during the crisis.