News & Events in New Zealand & Nepal.

INF Responds to Covid-19

Con­firmed coro­n­avirus cases con­tinue to increase across Nepal, and while the Gov­ern­ment has indi­cated plans to ease lock­down poli­cies in several stages over coming weeks, many people are still strug­gling to meet their basic needs.

People’s health needs during the COVID-19 pan­demic go beyond infec­tion pre­ven­tion and treat­ment. People with dis­abil­i­ties are unable to access reha­bil­i­ta­tion and therapy support. Chil­dren miss out on crit­i­cal health and devel­op­men­tal mile­stones such as vac­ci­na­tions, school­ing or early child­hood edu­ca­tion. Fam­i­lies expe­ri­ence hunger and vul­ner­a­bil­ity as their incomes drop dra­mat­i­cally. People strug­gle with anxiety and depres­sion in the face of dis­rup­tion and uncertainty.

Essen­tial Needs
Since mea­sures to restrict the spread of COVID-19 were imple­mented, INF has worked with local and provin­cial gov­ern­ments to iden­tify vul­ner­a­ble and needy people in need of emer­gency food relief and other support. To date, INF has sup­ported more than 1,000 house­holds across ten dis­tricts with sup­plies of rice, pulses, salt, oil, sugar and soap.

In Surkhet, Mugu and Jumla, this relief effort for the most socially and eco­nom­i­cally vul­ner­a­ble people has focused on sup­port­ing people with dis­abil­i­ties and people who are daily wage labour­ers and bonded agri­cul­tural workers. These groups have suf­fered par­tic­u­larly heavily. In Bajura, for example, INF helped pur­chase and deliver food to vul­ner­a­ble fam­i­lies and sup­ported the dis­tri­b­u­tion efforts of the Local Government

One ben­e­fi­ciary, Jhimu, said, “My husband has been working for daily wages in the village and Kolti Bazar. It is all our family of six have to survive on. But during the lock­down, he can’t do daily labour work, and it has become chal­leng­ing for us to survive. For more than a week, we have been living with just half a stomach because we have no food. Nobody in the village has pro­vided us with food, even though we have worked for them because they also are afraid of a long lock­down. We are very happy with INF Nepal and give thanks to all who helped with the support.”

Pro­mot­ing Health
INF has always sought to provide holis­tic health care through our hos­pi­tals and clinics, com­mu­nity-based reha­bil­i­ta­tion, nutri­tion and mater­nal, neona­tal and child health pro­grams. During the pan­demic, we are being chal­lenged to find new ways to support vul­ner­a­ble people and to promote phys­i­cal, mental and emo­tional health across Western Nepal.

INF’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions team have been working with the provin­cial gov­ern­ment and the World Health Organ­i­sa­tion to develop com­mu­ni­ca­tion resources to promote health and hygiene mes­sages. We have devel­oped a series of videos for people with dis­abil­i­ties focus­ing on per­sonal care, reha­bil­i­ta­tion and hygiene. Another video pro­vides encour­age­ment and support for fam­i­lies to share essen­tial health lessons with chil­dren and to adopt play-based learn­ing to support their chil­dren. A radio jingle cur­rently airing in Gandaki Province encour­ages people with ways to manage stress and anxiety.

An excit­ing new program is a tele­health and tele-rehab program, devel­oped by Green Pas­tures Hos­pi­tal [GPH] with support from the World Health Organ­i­sa­tion. In con­sul­ta­tion with the rel­e­vant doctors, GPH’s nurses and peer coun­sel­lors are able to provide support and advice to people with dis­abil­i­ties who are former patients. This out­reach pro­vides not only prac­ti­cal care but also a much-needed expe­ri­ence of love and cares for vul­ner­a­ble people in these chal­leng­ing times.