In Upper Dolpa, the number of people with COVID-19-like symptoms has increased.
Fever, common cold, and cough cases are on the rise in the rural municipalities of Dolpo Buddha, Shey Phoksundo, and Chharka Tansong, according to the Dolpo Janajati Development Center.
The three local governments have written to the Ministry of Health and Population, through the Center, to inform them of the situation.
“Previously, four Dolpo Buddha employees were flown to Surkhet on a helicopter and tested positive for the virus. The flight was organized by the municipal government. The matter was also brought to the attention of the province and the federal government, but there was no support from any state apparatus for contact tracing and testing at the local level,” according to the letter.
The people of Upper Dolpa do not have access to medical oxygen, personal protective equipment, or even general medicines that could help them manage the virus. The Center’s Chair, Gyalpo Thapa Bhote, lamented that the federal and provincial governments had turned a deaf ear to repeated calls for basic health care against the virus. “The seriousness of the situation is undervalued.”
When COVID-19 was suspected in this high-altitude settlement in the Karnali Province, Dolpo Buddha chair Temba Gurung reiterated the demand for ensuring basic but essential medical supplies to the Upper Dolpa.
Local officials have demanded 400-450 kilograms of medicines and COVID-19 testing kits be delivered immediately. They recommended using a helicopter to transport supplies because mules, which are commonly used here as a mode of transportation due to the lack of access to motor roads, take longer.