Since June 2021, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Nepal has been collaborating with hospitals dedicated to the fight against COVID-19, as well as the deployment of vaccination campaigns in four districts, including Dhanusha, Mahottari, Sarlahi and Rautahat.
Nepal, one of the first countries in the South Asian region to launch a mass vaccination campaign against COVID-19, intended to vaccinate 72% of its eligible population over 18, but the first phase saw moderate participation by no more than 12 percent of those targeted.
“Reluctance to vaccinate and fear of contacting the virus has kept many people in their homes,” said Leighton Fletcher, country director of ADRA in Nepal.
One of those people was a 25-year-old mother with a 16-month-old baby girl. The infant needed his first dose of the measles vaccine, but fear of encountering the COVID-19 virus in the medical facility prevented the mother from taking the baby to the doctor.
Laxmi Ghimire, a nurse who works with ADRA, personally visited the family at their home and convinced them that the health facility was taking precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. As a direct result of the personal interest of nurse Ghimire, the young mother gathered the courage to go to the hospital where the baby received the necessary vaccines.
ADRA staff and volunteers were able to help many people in this way as they began to carry out outreach activities, such as the distribution of COVID-19 related brochures and live radio telephone programs.
“Earlier this year, ADRA undertook a rapid needs assessment aimed at learning how to prioritize the needs of communities and health facilities,” said Fletcher. “The data collection methods included key informant interviews with selective government officials, social leaders and journalists from four districts. “
The results enabled ADRA to respond to community needs and effectively help structure COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, such as micro-planning to make vaccines easily accessible and prioritize people, as well. than providing training and guidance to health workers, community volunteers. and journalists.
“We haven’t forgotten about young people,” Fletcher adds. “ADRA staff and volunteers have implemented safe school protocols in 50 schools. ”
In addition, ADRA has provided medical supplies and personal protective equipment, as well as other products, to hospitals in Koshi, Janakpur, Bheri and Scheer Memorial Adventist Hospital in Banepa.
To learn more about what ADRA is doing in Nepal, visit: www.adranepal.org.