Kathmandu, Aug. 2: Minister of State for Health and Population Umesh Shrestha has said that 20 million doses of vaccines will 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 of Astra Zeneca vaccines will arrive.
"Process for procurement has been initiated since I joined the office to bring 4 million doses of Moderna vaccine for children, 5 million Johnson & Johnson company vaccine, 4 million Pfizer vaccine, and 2 million Astrazeneca vaccine", he said. By mid-January next year, 32.3 million doses of vaccines will have been brought to the country.
Making public 23-point policy commitments and action plan on public health and pandemic control at the Ministry today, he said that his topmost priority is the management of COVID-19 vaccines. Furthermore, procurement of vaccines, its storage and inoculation, as well as free and accessible treatment of the COVID-19 infected are current priorities of the Ministry.
He also said that separate task forces have been constituted to address the recent incidents that have been reported in the BP Cancer Hospital in Chitwan, BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences in Dharan and Bir hospital in Kathmandu. Arrangements shall be made to provide vaccination certificates from all the government hospitals in the country.
Minister of State Shrestha also said that a timetable including an action plan and special strategy will soon be made public to address the possible third wave of COVID-19.
The details of health supplies received from different countries, donor agencies and NGOs would be made public periodically. Face masks, stocked at the Health Ministry, would be distributed to citizens in coordination with local governments and organisations related to public health in order to observe Nepal Mask Week from August 7-13.
The action plan mentions that medical oxygen would be provided by maintaining zero profit for the COVID-19 patients making appropriate arrangements of ICU, high-dependency unit and ventilator. Similarly, the decision would be taken in consultation with the education ministry regarding publishing the results based on internal evaluation by cancelling the examination to be held in the near future as the risk of the third wave of COVID-19 is increasing.
Effectively implementation of the campaign 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 are also incorporated in the action plan.
The action plan has incorporated the issues including the arrangement of human resources required at health facilities across the nation with high priority, regular monitoring for improvement and expansion of hospital services, and policy-level management for service, facility and safety of health works.
On the occasion, health secretary Dr Roshan Pokharel said that problems seen at Bir Hospital would be resolved by forming a separate committee, adding that the due allowance for health workers would also be provided, while the COVID-19 allowance from mid-April to mid-July has already been provided.
Spokesperson of the Ministry, Dr Krishna Prasad Poudel, shared that all preparations have been completed for preventing the risk of third wave of COVID-19 and 120 ICU and 200 high dependency units have been established for the same.