Nepal | January 16, 2021

Govt to mobilise 50,000 health volunteers

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, April 5

The government today decided to mobilise at least 50,000 rural health volunteers in the fight against the novel coronavirus infection, with Nepal reporting its first case of local transmission yesterday.

A meeting of the high-level committee for the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus this afternoon decided that the government would ensure pay, facilities and insurance for volunteers and mobilise them at local levels.

The committee’s Member Secretary Narayan Prasad Bidari said the ministries of health and home affairs would devise separate guidelines that would fix their facilities and pay. “The guidelines will be implemented after the Cabinet endorses them,” said Bidari.

The committee also decided to revise protocol for setting up and operating quarantine facilities and distribution of relief materials to the needy. Bidari said the government found that quarantine facilities in some places were maintained haphazardly.

“We want to make sure that the quarantine faculties meet minimum criteria set by the World Health Organisation,” said Bidari.

As far as distribution of relief materials is concerned, the new protocol would ensure that the distribution process would not attract crowd, he said.

Bidari said even after staying in 14-day quarantine, people will not be allowed to leave unless medical test showed they were fit to leave. “If they show any symptoms of infection, they will be shifted to isolation,” said Bidari. “This will be applicable throughout the country,” he added.

The government also decided to set up Patient Receiving Teams, which will receive patients or suspected patients and take them to designated places. The team will include Nepali Army personnel and health professionals.

The government also decided to simultaneously proceed with processes of procurement of medical equipment under government-to-government contract and involving the private sector.

Speaking to mediapersons after the meeting, Bidari said both the processes would proceed in line with provisions in the Public Procurement Act.

The committee led by Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Ishwar Pokhrel also decided to ensure facilities and insurance to medical staff working on the frontlines.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on April 06, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.

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