Australia's Ambassador to Nepal, Felicity Volk, today handed over medical equipment worth AUD 45,450 (approximately Rs 41 lakh) to Dibya Singh Shah, dean of the Institute of Medicine, Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital and Samarika Dahal at the Forensic Department of TUTH.

The equipment – an ultrasound machine and a portable dental x-ray machine – were funded under the Australia Awards Alumni Grants Programme to support the work of two Australian university alumni – Professor Dr Shah and Dr Dahal.

The x-ray machine will be used in forensic odontology services in Nepal and will expand the disaster victim identification services provided by the Forensic Department at TUTH. Dr Dahal is pioneer in the field of forensic odontology and received the alumni grant in recognition of her strong commitment to advocacy for improved health services in Nepal and for her active engagement in the Australia Awards Women in Leadership Network in Nepal.

The ultrasound machine is being provided as an alumni grant to Professor Dr Shah, Dean, IOM, in recognition of her leadership in the field of nephrology and transplant services in Nepal.

Ambassador Volk said, "The Australian government is committed to supporting health security under our Nepal COVID-19 Development Response Plan. The plan focuses on assistance for the most vulnerable and, as Nepal manages multiple challenges simultaneously, the needs of vulnerable communities are more evident than ever."

"In recent months, we have seen health systems under immense strain; I can only imagine how difficult and stressful it must be for Nepal's health professionals.

I hope that the contribution of equipment under the Australia Awards Alumni grant programme will provide support to Nepal's health system and be a reminder of a friendship where Nepal and Australia have supported each other.

A version of this article appears in the print on July 7 2021, of The Himalayan Times.