Helping a Country Fight a Pandemic
Since 2020, Nepal has been in the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus is spreading at an alarming speed throughout the country.
Photo by Sulav Shrestha/Xinhua
Community transmission, social distancing and the level of hygiene were all areas of major concern in Nepal. Additionally, the large influx of workers returning from India, and other countries, is still compounding the problem.
The Need
Through Rotary Club of Albury's close ties with Nepal, our International team learned that foot-operated handwash stations were in great need. These virtually contact-less handwash stations use foot pedals that dispense liquid soap and water and therefore reduced the spread of germs and, more importantly, the virus.
With hospitals overfilling with people, another desperate plea reached us from the Paropakar Maternity and Women's Hospital. They needed assistance to renovate their hospital in order to establish a COVID-19 testing facility. This lab would enable vulnerable, pregnant women and their children to be tested separately from the general public.
The Project
In the 2020-2021 Rotary year, our International team was working on a project which would raise enough funds to buy and install these foot-operated handwash stations where needed.
Despite being under COVID-19 restrictions ourselves, we managed to raise $5,000 to help Nepal. Our project partner, Rotary Club of Kathmandu, used these funds to install 9 units of mechanical hand wash stations at the following 7 locations:
  1. Community Service Center, Ghattekulo, Kathmandu
  2. Patan Mental Hospital, Balkumari, Patan
  3. Satdobato Police Station, Lalitpur
  4. Bageshwori Secondary School
  5. Shree Jhamkeshwori Secondary School, Makawanpur
  6. Department of Social Work, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu
  7. Paropakar Maternity and Women's Hospital, Kathmandu.
The remaining funds were used for the establishment of the PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) Test Lab at Paropakar Maternity and Women's Hospital (Prashuti Ghriha), Kathmandu for pregnant women and new born babies.

At the time we received RC Kathmandu’s final report, the Lab was testing on average 100 suspected cases every day and the countries total cases was holding steadily at around 100 cases per day. However, Nepal is currently being overwhelmed by a surge in cases from a fierce and more deadly second wave (most likely caused by the thousands of workers returning from India).
With reports of over 9,000 cases per day, Nepal is now faced with over-burdened hospitals, depleted medical supplies, and a shortage of oxygen concentrators – just like India.

India’s COVID-19 Crisis
To provide urgent assistance to Rotarians dealing with the health crisis in India, the International Service Team also donated $2,000 which funded the purchase of 4 oxygen concentrators and their air freight to India, where they were most desperately needed.
This project was managed by Samantha Lee and Jiji Lee. If you'd like to know more, please contact Samantha Lee or feel free to contact Our Club.
We would like to thank the following people who made this project possible:
  • Peter Elias, Rotary Club of Albury
  • Suresh Singh, Rotary Club of Kathmandu
  • David Dean, Rotary Foundation Committee Chair, District 9685
  • Haran Ramachandran, Grants Chair, District 9685
  • Lily Lee, Doug Garner, Lily Clarke, John Taylor, Toni Field (President) from Rotary Club of North Sydney