As the world continues to watch the devastation in India unfold, spillover into neighboring countries has received far less attention. But Nepal now has the world’s highest COVID-19 transmission rates (as of May 2021), and the current surge of COVID-19 cases – combined with a very low level of vaccination – is severely straining Nepal’s fragile health system and adding to concern that the virus will spiral even further.
This surge is proving particularly devastating for children and youth, who are not only being directly affected by the disease in record numbers, but are also losing parents and caregivers and having access to schools and vital support networks restricted. The toll on children’s physical and mental health is enormous – and the longer critical resources are diverted to address the crisis, essential health services that children and mothers rely on are increasingly at risk of being compromised, if not shuttered entirely.
UNICEF is on the ground, working with the government and partners to ensure the safeguarding of essential services for children and responding to the critical need for PPE, oxygen concentrators, additional medical supplies, safe drinking water, and risk communication. With its key role in the global COVAX initiative to ensure global procurement and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, UNICEF is also supporting vaccination distribution in Nepal. As of mid-May, 348,000 doses have been delivered, prioritized for health care and frontline workers.
The time to act is now. With your support, UNICEF can rush critical supplies, services, and vaccines to save lives and prevent further devastation in Nepal.