KATHMANDU, August 18: United States Ambassador to Nepal, Randy W Berry, along with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Nepal Mission Director, Sepideh Keyvanshad, donated two liquid oxygen tanks to Bir Hospital and Paropakar Maternity Hospital in Kathmandu on Tuesday.
These liquid oxygen systems are joined to the central oxygen system of the hospitals, and will provide uninterrupted supply of oxygen, or refill around 40 cylinders of 40L capacity in an hour, according to the US Embassy in Kathmandu. Four more liquid oxygen tanks are being installed at hospitals across the country with USAID’s support.
The US also announced on Wednesday to provide an additional $10.5 million in urgent COVID-19 assistance for Nepal through USAID. "The additional funding assistance will strengthen surveillance and contact tracing in municipalities, support laboratory systems, and expand antigen testing at border crossings. This funding will also help the Ministry of Health and Population develop protocols and guidelines on COVID-19 management, train and recruit healthcare workers to increase surge capacity, and strengthen critical care," said a press statement issued by the US Embassy in Kathmandu.
The US Embassy said the USAID also helps COVID-19 patients in isolation facilities and in their homes through telemedicine, ensures continuity of crucial health and rehabilitation services for people with disabilities, and equips local-level health facilities with other needed services by working with its partners.
The small hand-over ceremony included the COVID-19 Unified Central Hospital’s (Bir Hospital) Chief Executive Officer Dr. Bhupendra Basnet, and Paropakar Maternity and Women’s Hospital’s Director, Dr. Sangita Mishra.
This additional U.S. assistance builds on more than $90 million in COVID-19 support from the United States government to Nepal that has reached over 60% of the population since the pandemic started. The assistance includes $75 million from USAID in technical and commodity support such as oxygen cylinders, breathing devices, ventilators, and personal protective equipment, according to the statement.
USAID’s support in the health sector reflects one of the longest standing and one of the most successful development assistance programs in Nepal. In the last 20 years alone, USAID has invested over $600 million to improve the quality of health services in Nepal, and has helped reduce maternal deaths, infant mortalities and eradicate malaria "Diseases know no borders. The U.S. is partnering with Nepal to end the COVID-19 pandemic, mitigate its devastating social and economic effects, and build back a better world that is prepared to effectively respond to future outbreaks," said the statement.