Challenges posed by Corona Pandemic in Nepal

Published: August 28, Friday, Biratnagar
Covid- 19 has been a very contentious, complicated, and life-threatening global phenomenon. Amidst this pandemic trauma, the disarmed virus is on ashore and we armed citizenry is on the offshore and still, there is a predominance of this deadly virus to the extent which we can't explain of.

There is a lockdown in almost every country accompanied by mass quarantine and self-isolation. There is a large cloud of suspicion rolling above the head of all the people. For the first time in the history of humankind, people are dividing and have remained aloof only to stand united. Renowned and accredited health institutions throughout the globe are aspiring tirelessly and incessantly to discover the permanent remedy of Corona.

Optimistic news of vaccine being developed and inoculated as a trial on human population by some developed countries are boosting the confidence of lots of people. Currently, 3rd phase of the vaccinal trial in a large portion of the human population in different age groups of communities and ethnicities all around the globe is being conducted for checking the efficacy and immune response of the vaccine on the human body. It is said that the vaccine developer has put their keen priority in the Nepalese population as well owing to it´s diverse and heterogeneous demography. Still, the production, fair distribution, and access of the vaccine among the poor and marginalized community may remain a serious challenge even after its successful trial. It is a necessity to approve the trial here in our nation as well, duly following all the required protocols and ethical guidelines ensuring no risks at all. Right now, we can only hope for a better tomorrow and wait and see something better breakthrough will be met in the near future.

In the context of Nepal, somehow government tried to take initiation, stopping the movement of people, maintaining social distancing, and imposing prohibitory orders of late, which is a highly praiseworthy act in order to contain the spread of viruses further in the community. However, still we lack advanced health precaution kits, protective gear, face shields, secure masks, and other devices even in the health institutions. Medical teams and health professionals are themselves engulfed with the risks associated while dealing with infected patients and are clueless about how to self protect their life.

Apathetic is the government`s prerogative of imposing lockdown which is not backed by any vision, farsightedness logic, or reasoning. The government has no strategy to cope with the virus and address the problems of people's subsistence and livelihood amidst the lockdown with prohibitory orders. It seems the government is simply imitating the model of mitigating the virus of some countries without making proper roadmap and without understanding know-how.
In the Nepalese scenario, in the long run, we may face food deficit and poor and middle class my not have access and affordability to purchase the hiked product and services. There is no production, distribution, demand, and supply estimation and speculation on the hand of government.

The government`s social distancing doctrine is not working at all. For instance, you can see few vegetable vendors and grocery stalls are being surrounded by numerous people, desperate to buy the stuff and there are no safety and precaution measures applied by them. Is there a discounted risk on such crowds? The black marketing, adulteration, artificial shortage, unwanted and unethical price hike by merchants, scarcity of basic necessity items, etc are also eyebrow-raising topics inside the Nepalese economy.

Poor and marginalized family classes are being mocked by taking photographs by so-called doners and relief providers with scanty rice and cereals in their hands. Poor are harassed when it comes to the use of sanitizers and surgical masks. Sanitizers and masks are secondary items to them, instead, they are panic in searching for meals twice a day and clothes to wear. There has been news that some tenants have been outgrown by their renters out of the fear of getting infected. It sheds light on the stigma and social discrimination against the victim.

The development budget of the fiscal year is sure to be in a freezing state. Shouldn´t that consolidated fund be channelized on corona overhead and fulfill the subsistence of general Nepali people? If the life of people isn´t saved, for whom the development is aimed?

The subsidy, grant, and other relief funds are misappropriated and embezzled. The political-business on the PCR device has sparked serious questions in some municipalities as per the news being circulated on different media houses. There is rampant corruption in the distribution policy of the government. Who is accountable for these misdeeds?

Citizens are asked to stay inside four walls of their house and the government is asking from consent from the public to loot the state treasure. Doesn´t it seem to be a trick of government to fool the citizens by restricting their freedoms and liberties in the name of lockdown? Police personnels are staying sentry on the border at present. Our politician´s sovereignty and national protection priority came only after the punch of the corona pandemic? Where was it lost erstwhile? Are we permanently keeping that security personnel in no man´s land hereafter, so that our land would be well monitored and border encroachment could be stopped? ?

Corona pandemic has hit hard the common conscience of people all around the world. Hunger fears no gallows. People tend to fulfill their basic requirements on the cost of disobeying the so-called harsh rules and orders of government. So, it´s high time the government of all three tiers takes into consideration the daily sustenance issue of millions of the general public. Why are we delaying to revolutionize our agriculture and production sector? After all, flooding and consumption are the core activities of all people in all the economy which has been proved once again when people are struggling to get their appetite end. Thus, agricultural productivity should be expanded, enhanced, and sustained hand in hand along with the measures taken to mitigate the virus.

Similarly, it won't be an exaggeration to assert that the government spends considerable budget in a scientific and medical study, research, and discovery as every nation in the globe are combating on their own independent level to free themselves from the unprecedented terror of coronavirus. Owing to the richness in medicinal herbs and biodiversities, self independency accounts of immense value to us. Making pragmatic plans and policies for such will make our public health system much more better and reliable as well.

We all acknowledge the mishappenings happening in different places of our nation. The Metropolitan city of any nation is reckoned as the most progressive and open-minded society. But a very acardiac and offensive act against corona patient is being done by the people of a massively developed and large metropolia like Biratnagar, Kathmandu, Birgunj, and others. We can easily guess what message it would cast in the far horizon of villages in Nepal. It's an immensely tragic feeling which shatters down each and every enthusiasm, devotion, and dedication placed by the health workers for the sake of other people and patient. We are showcasing a very evil stain in the name of being educated and civilized. Sometimes I wonder are we consenting Corona, as a factor, to revive back an old fashioned and disgraceful practice of untouchability, social boycott, stigmatization of infected people, and inferiorize the people who need our love, care, support and helping hands? Where are we moving towards?

It is very imperative and high time to cut off the social stigma attached to corona patients. This urgency needs to be felt instantly. Little late may turn to be counterproductive. Let's open our eyes, let's not spread envy and hatred. Let's live and let others live. Let's not demoralize the ones who are working piously in their respective fields in these hard times.

Having said this, the role of media, civil society, and government bodies to change the fixed mindset of narcissists and ignorant people should not be undermined. Mass health counseling is the need of the hour. Community/ society based empirical study and pragmatic plans and policies, assessment of the health programs and support, monitoring, and coordination of government agencies would turn productive. Let's not turn blind, deaf, and dumb to the responsibility and concerns of the mass. Let's strive to place one of the best instances in the region in managing this Corona crisis here in Nepal.

Khemraj(Ronil) Adhikary
Biratnagar -3
Profession: Teaching
(Masters in Sociology )


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