It would not be a great disclosure to state that Nepal is a failed state although politicians do not like to accept the obvious fact. Many politicians have been heard going only as far as stating that Nepal will be a failed state. In the current context, it is amply proven that even those so called first world have failed miserably in confronting a simple challenge Mother Nature sent to mankind. The coronavirus pandemic is projected to peak in summer in the USA, whereas China has already pressed the reset button. However, Nepal has been badly exposed as a country ruled by totally incompetent, power-obsessed, criminal-minded Mafioso figures. Nothing exemplifies it more than the health care fiasco that is in the trending news. The question arises: Was there ever a system in place? Those days of hospital personnels hiding medicines meant to be given free seem like petty thievery now.
After the pandemic death toll started rising around the world, shifting the epicenter from Wuhan, China to Italy and the United States, Nepal government started taking it more seriously by issuing a lockdown. With no medical treatment available, social distancing and other simple measures like washing hands, not touching the face and becoming aware of fever and cough were recommended through messaging services on phone calls.
The first scandal hit the social media when news came out that private hospitals like Grande and Alka were refusing service and turning away patients with fevers. Along the same line, hospitals around Nepal, in Birgunj, Butwal, Biratnagat, Janakpur etc. had turned away and referred patients with fever to other hospitals. Those denials resulted in the patients paying the ultimate price.
Ignorance is rampant in Nepal, hence it is easy to spread misinformation and multiply the fear factor. Despite the better judgment of a normal intelligent person, anything relating to health is suspected to be corona. Doctors and health workers are taking any sign of fever as a sign to turn away patients so even normal illness are being considered cases of pandemic. Any normal medico should have understood that fever is the first response of a human body upon foreign elements intrusion. However, doctors and nurses have overlooked the fact. This is against the medical ethics and basic human ethics.
If that was a bad situation, consider the purchase of PPE and other necessary equipments from China by the government. Following news item makes a mockery of the public: “…the government had bypassed minimum quotation and purchased medical equipment and kits at high rate from Omni Group. This had raised many eyebrows and made the entire procurement process suspicious. Moreover, it was revealed that coronavirus test kits worth almost Rs 70 million that the government purchased from China did not meet the World Health Organisation standards.” The Omni group now has been blacklisted and the contract rescinded. There is reported to have been irregularities in the process and items have been purchased at inflated prices. When timely response and action are of greatest importance, such squandering alone would be criminal action. What more could be sign of inhumanity and failure at the top level? Lodging a complaint against the health minister is not going to help those whose lives have been put in danger. Such a shameful incident speaks volume about the ethical and humanity level of the people in the government. And those hospitals that get billions and billions in tax exemption have to be told by the Supreme Court to attend to the patients unconditionally? Excuse me?
So while the legislators get their swabs tested, people are continuing to face shortage of tests in many parts of Nepal. Far Western Nepal has been really badly affected. The latest news from there is that due to the lack of testing kits no testing is being done. Nepalgunj has seen a flare up in the number sending infected people close to 3 digits. People returning from India and placed in quarantine are unable to have their tests and even worse is that the swabs that had been collected sit idle with no further process. Due to the low quality machine being used, the pace of testing had been extremely slow. It would not be illogical to imagine that the biggest threats to Nepal is from Western Nepal and the southern Terai districts where people coming from India can cross due to lack of a proper border security.
It is crisis like this that really helps to demonstrate how much prepared we are and if we have the means. In all fronts of Nepal, it has been proven that government was not at all prepared. It has no capability, vision, plan and even intention to alleviate the danger to the population, or form a systematic means to loosen the lockdown so that people do not have to die from other causes than Covid-19.
A friend in need is what we have grown up valuing in testing time. Current pandemic has exposed the veil of incompetence in our society and lay bare that there are no friends in government or medical profession. This is merely a reflection on the society as a whole that has taken a path away from truth and righteousness (dharma). When people overlook their own culture and knowledge base in favor of foreign everything, then insanity is the natural result--unbeknownst of one’s own merits, strengths, and rules of living of the true self.
Friends, family, professionals, and government have all been tested. It is now time to judge for Nepali public whether there is an urgent need to mend course. When the essential service like healthcare has been shown to be dysfunctional, people of Nepal must make a hard choice on the best options we have before us. The current one should be sent packing, sooner the better.
The PM indulges in politics rather than the pandemic. All he can do is to warn that the situation is looking to get worse. The government has no credibility left. People have now been woken up to the fact that Nepal has been a failed state for a long time.
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