Minister of State for Health and Population Umesh Shrestha said 20 million doses of vaccine would arrive in the country by mid-October, of which 9.7 million have already been received. In the coming two weeks, 1.6 million doses of Vero Cell and 1.6 million AstraZeneca vaccines will arrive.

"The process for procurement has been initiated to bring four million doses of Moderna vaccine for children, five million Johnson & Johnson vaccines, four million Pfizer vaccines and two million Astrazeneca vaccines," he said. "By mid-January of next year, 32.3 million doses of vaccines will have been brought to the country," he added.

Making public a 23-point policy commitment and action plan on public health and pandemic control at the ministry today, he said his topmost priority was the management of COVID-19 vaccines.

Furthermore, procurement of vaccines, its storage and inoculation, as well as free and accessible treatment of COV- ID-infected people are the priorities of the ministry.

He also said separate task forces had been formed to address the recent incidents being reported at the BP Koirala Memorial Cancer Hospital in Chitwan, BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences in Dharan and Bir hospital in Kathmandu. Arrangement shall be made to provide vaccination certificates from all the government hospitals in the country.

Shrestha also said the time table, including an action plan and special strategy, would soon be made public to subdue the possible third wave of COVID-19.

Details of health supplies received from different countries, donor agencies and NGOs would be made public periodically. Face masks kept in stock at the health ministry will be distributed to citizens in coordination with the local governments and organisations related to public health in a bid to observe Nepal Mask Week from August 7 to 13.

As per the action plan, medical oxygen will be provided to COV- ID-19 patients and appropriate arrangement of ICU, high-dependency unit and ventilator will be made at zero-profit. Similarly, decision will be taken in consultation with the education ministry by publishing the results based on internal evaluation by cancelling the examination to be held in the near future amid the burgeoning risk of the third wave of COVID-19.

Effective implementation of the campaign by ensuring health insurance of every citizen, discouraging the misuse of health insurance, development and expansion of Disease Control Centre, reproductive health service and Food and Drug Administration have also been incorporated in the action plan.

The action plan has accorded high priority to various issues, including the arrangement of necessary human resources at health facilities across the nation, regular monitoring for improvement and expansion of hospital services, and policy-level management to provide service, facility and safety to health works.

Health Secretary Dr Roshan Pokharel said problems seen at Bir Hospital would be resolved by forming a separate committee, and the due allowance for health workers would also be provided.

A version of this article appears in the print on August 3 2021, of The Himalayan Times.