Nepal received 982 units of 10-litre oxygen concentrators, financed by the World Bank today.

The concentrators are part of a long-term solution for augmenting Nepal's capacity to supply therapeutic oxygen to public health facilities thereby providing a stronger response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I am very pleased that we have been able to quickly bring in the oxygen concentrators, which will be dispatched to health facilities across the country," said Minister of Health and Population Sher Bahadur Tamang.

"The government is working hard to strengthen availability of medical oxygen in all public health facilities so that every Nepali citizen requiring oxygen is able to access it."

The oxygen concentrators were procured through UNOPS under the World Bank-financed COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project, which also financed seven oxygen generation plants, one for each province in Nepal. These plants will be brought in, installed and operationalised by UNOPS in a phased manner in seven provincial hospitals, in the next six to 15 weeks.

The COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project is supporting the purchase and deployment of COVID-19 vaccines for prioritised Nepali citizens, health system strengthening towards a robust public health response to the pandemic, community engagement and risk communication, and strengthening existing digital technology-based pandemic data, surveillance and monitoring systems.

"The World Bank has made available $104 million to support Nepal's immediate health response to the pandemic, including the procurement of COVID vaccines, and strengthening the country's health systems and preparedness," stated Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank country director for Nepal, Maldives and Sri Lanka. "We are committed to supporting Nepal and Nepalis during this crisis, and by joining forces with the government and development partners, we have been able to have more impact."

A version of this article appears in the print on June 20, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.