The country is facing one of the most challenging health crises that we have not seen in decades.
Now that both KP Sharma Oli and Madhav Kumar Nepal can claim victory, the country urgently needs a government that can take care of its people gasping for oxygen. All major hospitals in Kathmandu and elsewhere in the country have stopped admitting new patients due to the lack of medical oxygen. Dozens of people have lost their lives due to the lack of oxygen supply. The people are dying every hour. The virus has ravaged our towns and villages. Abandoned by the state, the people are left to fend for themselves. The sense of helplessness is appalling. Those people did not have to die. It is the state that should be held accountable for the tragedy unfolding across the country.
PM Oli and his team were too busy in political infighting. Now that their power is secure, can we please have a functioning government? Is it too much to expect a smooth supply of oxygen and other resources to our major hospitals? Is it too much to expect urgent diplomatic communications to secure the much-needed vaccines from India, China, the United States and elsewhere?
What stops PM Oli and his team from deploying the same level of urgency that they showed in the last few days to resolve the crisis in their party? The health ministry and other relevant agencies cannot limit their roles to issuing press statements here and there. The ministry issued a 15-day deadline to private hospitals with more than 150 beds to install an oxygen plant. The hospital owners came out minutes after the announcement stating that they are not in a position to do so. The government has to facilitate the processes, and not dictate when resources are hard to come by.
When was the last time our health minister and the prime minister sat down with the country’s big hospitals to figure out a way to manage oxygen and other vital resources? What stops our government from cutting red tape, and facilitating imports of essential medical resources? Things have to change for good. Decisions have to be made now. We have no time to spare. Baluwatar has to feel the sense of urgency, and act accordingly.
We urge the Oli government to monitor hospitals, medical suppliers, and the evolving situations in remote villages. We also ask the government to deploy all the resources in the needy places and for the people gasping for air. The government has to ask the private sector to help in this hour of crisis. PM Oli should urgently convene a meeting with the country’s top industries and ask for their support. The government should lend its widebody planes if the private sector wants to import medicine, oxygen cylinders and other resources quickly.
Do everything possible to save lives. We can think of ‘happy Nepalis and prosperous Nepal’ only if we have a healthy nation. The next few weeks are crucial. We can defeat the virus. We call upon the prime minister to make it his personal mission to bring things under control, and provide hope to the people who are struggling to survive at this hour.