A border blockade with India has resulted in severe shortages of medications and medical goods in Nepal. HIV drugs, which were in short supply before the earthquake and blockade, are near complete stockout – with patients now down to their last week or two of medications.
In response, Nepal’s Ministry of Health (MoHP) has called on the international community to help in addressing the situation. The MoHP has provided Direct Relief with a detailed list of the country’s highest-priority needs for the next 12 weeks. In addition to HIV medication, the list includes anti-infective agents, cardiovascular drugs, respiratory medications, pain medication, disinfectants, dermatological agents, antifungals, antianxiety medications, and oral rehydration salts.
Over the weekend, Direct Relief worked to prepare an initial emergency air shipment of urgently needed medications. This 15-pallet shipment is scheduled to depart Direct Relief’s warehouse for Nepal tomorrow, with an additional air shipment planned for December 7. Direct Relief is working to fulfill as much of the requested items as possible and will deliver them only in quantities that the MoHP can accept and distribute effectively.
The MoHP and the Minister of Finance have both committed to facilitating these shipments through the clearance process quickly and duty-free.
People in Nepal have undergone enormous hardship, which is being intensified by this situation.
More updates will follow as Direct Relief’s emergency response work in Nepal continues.