WHO receives backlash on social media for failing to prioritize medical needs of Nepal

NL Today

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Kathmandu: The World Health Organization (WHO) has received backlash on social media, especially Twitter,  for failing to prioritize medical needs for Nepal as the country grapples with the second Covid-19 wave.

A news update on WHO’s website titled ‘Epidemiological situation in Nepal’ on May 28 states that Nepal’s health system has been over-stretched with acute shortages of life-saving medical supplies, and the country is in urgent need of vaccines. 

“Surge in infections has over-stretched the health system, acute shortages of life-saving medical supplies, especially oxygen, critical life support equipment and trained critical care human resources. Only about 2% population is fully vaccinated in Nepal; there is an urgent need for vaccines,”WHO said in the update mentioning it as acute needs for Nepal.

What irked the Twitterati is that WHO has failed to provide medical supplies to address Nepal’s emergency needs. WHO said it had shipped about 100,000 PPE items (medical masks, gowns, goggles, face shields) and multipurpose tents to Nepal.

Nepal is struggling with the second wave of the pandemic, with hospitals reeling under a shortage of life-saving drugs and medical oxygen. Nepal’s Covid-19 vaccination drive is going through severe uncertainties, with government authorities announcing that 1.3 million citizens who received the first dose will not get the second jab immediately.

A Twitter user @SumanaShrestha wrote: “WHO procurement team, please listen to WHO medical team. Look at what is the acute need vs what you are providing to Nepal. Are your two departments in sync with each other?”

In the news report, WHO further said it has 328 team members around the country working in tandem with government health officials providing support with operations and logistics, laboratories, surveillance, case investigation and contact tracing, and communications, among others. WHO also stated that it is supporting the National Public Health Laboratory in a quick ramping up of testing and monitoring the quality standards and has doubled the capacity of the Covid-19 toll-free hotlines.

Another Twitter user @Youbrajbasnet questioned: “WHO can’t buy anything other than masks and PPEs? It would have been better if test kits were provided. We will buy masks and PPEs ourselves. Where are vaccines? What is the purpose of the organization that makes public statements every day?”

 “WHO has no clue about anything, except one thing (They are pretty sure this virus didn’t originate in Wuhan Virology Lab, China),” a Twitter user @kartikeyaBhakt mocked.