Nepal government procured no oxygen-related supplies in last six months

In May, when the second wave of the Covid-19 was wreaking havoc in Nepal, records showed that the government did not procure any oxygen-related supplies in the last six months to manage the crisis despite issuing several tenders, a report in The Kathmandu Post claims

Jun 08, 2021
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Nepal oxygen-related supplies

In May, when the second wave of the Covid-19 was wreaking havoc in Nepal, records showed that the government did not procure any oxygen-related supplies in the last six months to manage the crisis despite issuing several tenders, a report in The Kathmandu Post claims. 

Authorities, instead, completely relied on supplies donated by foreign countries and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs). 

Although tenders --for procuring oxygen cylinders, ventilators, and medical equipment-- were issued very late, they didn’t get any favorable response. Another issue that made the supply impossible in most tenders was the unrealistic delivery timeline stated by the government.

Late in April, when the coronavirus situation exploded in India, the government issued a tender, inviting bids for the supply of oxygen cylinders. However, the lockdown and the ban on international flights at the time made it impossible for suppliers to supply those within the stipulated time period. 

Two weeks later, in May, the situation in Nepal became like thr one witnessed by India earlier. The government, thereafter, approached China for oxygen cylinders while other countries and NGOs rushed other related supplied to the country. 

“We have not procured anything related to oxygen for the last six months,” Bhim Sing Tinkari, the director at the Management Division of Nepal’s Department of Health Services, was quoted as saying by The Kathmandu Post. 
 
Similarly, in late May, the government issued a tender for procuring 50 ventilators, and by the time the virus had already surpassed its peak as cases began to come down significantly. Government officials admitted failing to procure these crucial supplies on time.

“We have signed an agreement with an international organization for installing oxygen plants in all seven provinces with the assistance of the World Bank, Tinkari said. 

Countries like China, the United States, Switzerland, Finland, Spain, the United Kingdom, Thailand, France, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates supplied various medical goods, including oxygen cylinders, oxygen concentrators, liquid oxygen cylinders, ventilators, and antigen kits.

As of 4 June, a total of 3,258 oxygen cylinders, 813 oxygen concentrators, eight oxygen plants, and 101,440 relief materials were provided by NGOs, both domestic and international, according to the data released by the country’s Social Welfare Council, a government agency that coordinate NGOs' assistance in Nepal.  

Domestic political instability in Nepal, since the dissolution of parliament in December last year, further exacerbated the crisis as the government looked more focused on its survival rather than on managing the Covid-19 crisis. 

(SAM)

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