The Covid-19 has had serious impacts on all aspects of life across the world. It has caused considerable loss to the powerful economies like the US, the UK, Germany and other developed nations. Nepal suffered more losses due to the pandemic this year than last year. The lockdowns that followed after the pandemic have adversely affected economic and educational sectors. The poor are suffering the most. Lockdown is a powerful means to prevent the contagion but it has not been effective enough in Nepal.
Those who depend for their livelihood on daily wage works had to stay inside their houses for months. But the political leaders and their cadres came out in the competition to hit the streets and gather crowds. As a result, Covid-19 spread much faster in Nepal. Service sectors were closed but cultural and religious ceremonies continued, creating the ground for further spread of infection.
Importing vaccines and vaccinating people could have helped a lot but political brinkmanship prevented this from happening. There are suspicions of foul play by those in power to make money out of the vaccine import. While this was happening, hundreds of poor people were dying in hospitals due to lack of ICU beds, ventilators and oxygen support.
As regular teaching and learning activities came to a halt, children were deprived of their right to education. The schools were asked to upgrade the students based on internal evaluation. This discouraged the students from studying hard. Yes, the government asked the schools to adopt digital teaching-learning methods. This was effective in city areas but a large number of students living in rural areas and lacking access to the internet could not continue learning. Truth is only those technologically sound schools have been able to provide digital teaching-learning to the students. Still, poor connectivity of the internet and reluctant attitude of the students towards study became a hindrance. Lack of smart devices and internet access posed a serious challenge to the learning of the students.
Political leaders and policymakers should set aside their differences and work together to defeat the pandemic. Nepal must spare no efforts to procure vaccines and inoculate the people.
Covid-19 has wreaked havoc across the world. Entire world is struggling to fight this virus. Developed countries have been able to produce/procure vaccines and inoculate their citizens. Thus the situation is largely under control in those countries. Nepal must spare no efforts to procure vaccines and inoculate the people. This is a critical moment for all. Political leaders and policymakers should set aside their differences and work together to defeat the pandemic. Then a long-term plan should be formulated to minimize the Covid risks. It would be better to form a team of experts to find the ways to save lives and secure livelihoods of common people. The expert team comprising academicians, economists, politicians and social campaigners should work collectively to address the problems caused by Covid-19 in various sectors.
Developed countries have shown that with collective efforts and proactive government measures lives can be saved and Covid-19 can be defeated. Nepal should urgently devise long-term visions accompanied by concrete actions to beat the pandemic.
Raju Gaihre is a teacher by profession.