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Providing Nepal with ‘A Breath of Hope’

OUR OXYGEN PROJECT TO NEPAL

As we watch Covid-19 cases in Nepal skyrocketing at an alarming rate, we launched our “A Breath of Hope” campaign in May to help their crippling healthcare system. Fighting against time, even though we have not raised enough donations, we decide to use all the generous donations received so far and send the oxygen and food to Nepal as best we can, periodically.

This decision was made after serious discussion with our hospital partners in Nepal, and the conclusion was that if we had waited till we’ve raised the targeted donations of SGD $200,000, the crisis would have gone passed the point of no return. More lives would be lost, and the virus could even mutate further more in the months to come.

Because of the shortage of oxygen that is needed to be administered to their patients, hospitals in Nepal are using oxygen concentrators as an alternative. Oxygen concentrators can produce an endless supply of oxygen by extracting the oxygen from the air. Unlike oxygen cylinders, there is no need to manually replenish the oxygen in the tank after every 4 to 5 hours of use.

A patient in Chaurjahari Hospital, Rukum district relying on oxygen from an oxygen cylinder to breathe

A lot of work has gone into sourcing, arranging freight delivery and custom clearance. Obtaining the oxygen concentrators was much harder than we anticipated. Due to high demand from the hospitals both in India and Nepal, the oxygen concentrators were in extremely short supply. The urgency and desperation of the situation spurred us to work hard to find suppliers who can deliver quickly. Many vendors we approached quoted deliveries in July or August and several others did not respond to our email queries. After a few days of searching, we managed to find a vendor that could deliver the oxygen concentrators urgently and the first shipment of 30 units from OHF are expected to reach Nepal by the first week of June 2021.

More than simply arranging for the oxygen concentrators to be donated to Nepal, we ensured that we had good partnership and clear communications with three partners in Nepal. We wanted to be completely sure that the equipment donated would be properly used in Government hospitals where it will benefit the poor who live in remote villages, and not private hospitals where only the rich can afford. As we have been working on community projects in Nepal since 2002, we understand the limitations in Nepal and how hard it is for the villagers in remote villages to gain proper access to healthcare facilities.

Hospitals in Rukum district overwhelmed with patients queueing to see a doctor

Many villagers living in remote areas cannot afford to go to Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, where the healthcare facilities are better than in the villages. However, even if they do make it there, the hospitals in Kathmandu are overwhelmed and turning away any new Covid patients. These rural hospitals are preparing for the Covid pandemic and have set up isolation wards. On a zoom call to two doctors, they shared the fear that their hospitals will not be able to provide the oxygen as they have limited oxygen tanks and a small number of oxygen concentrators.

 

Covid Isolation temporary ward set up in Gajuri

We decided to start with 5 hospitals in the Dhading District – providing them with 22 oxygen concentrators, 1,000 non re-breathable masks, and 59 oximeters.
The 5 hospitals are:
     a. Neelkantha Municipality, Dhading District Hospital
              – Qty 10 oxygen concentrators
     b. Gajuri Rural Municipality, Dhading Gajuri Primary Health Care Center (PHC)
              – Qty 4 oxygen concentrators
     c. Dhunibeshi Municipality, Dhading Health Posts
              – Qty 4 oxygen concentrators
     d. Gangajamuna Rural Municipality, Dhading Basic Hospital
              – Qty 2 oxygen concentrators
     e. Khaniyabas Rural Municipality, Dhading Basic Hospital
              – Qty 2 oxygen concentrators

The next area that we are arranging to send help is in the Western Rukum area.
We will sending the equipment to following hospitals:
     a. Chaurjahari Hospital Rukum (CHR)
              – Qty 10 oxygen concentrators
     b. Athbiskot Municipal Hospital
              – Qty 30 oxygen concentrators
     c. Sanobheri Municipal Hospital
              – Qty 30 oxygen concentrators
     d. Chaurjahari Municipal Hospital of Rukum west
              – Qty 30 oxygen concentrators
     e. Kumakh Municipal Hospital of Salyan district
              – Qty 30 oxygen concentrators
     f. Mehelkuna Municipal Hospital of Surkhet district
              – Qty 30 oxygen concentrators

The third area is the Western Regional Hospital in Pokhara where we worked with its director, Dr. Bharat Bahadur Khatri. However till more funds come in, we are unable to arrange for anymore.

Our campaign so far has raised SGD $14,000. We are very thankful to all the generous donors who have stepped up and contributed. With all the equipment and logistics arranged so far, it has amounted to SGD $80,000, from which SGD $14,000 were from the donations and any shortfall was topped up with OHF reserves. We are still getting calls for help but we are unable to do any more until we managed to raise more funds. We do not want to exhaust our reserves any further as these reserves are also used to fund shortfalls for other OHF programmes.

If you would like to donate, any and all donation amounts are welcomed. A little bit will go a long way to helping Nepal fight this pandemic.

All funds raised will be going to providing the poor patients with Oxygen Concentrators, oximeters and non re-breathable masks.

 

Find out more at our ‘A Breath of Hope’ campaign page here

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