Joint Statement of the External Development Partners in Health Regarding Critical and Growing Shortages of Essential Medical Supplies in Nepal
We the undersigned express our deepest concern at critical and growing shortages of essential and lifesaving medicines and supplies at health care facilities across Nepal, as well as ongoing fuel supply issues that are severely impeding service delivery and the ability to access these services. In recognition of the right to timely access to quality health care services, as enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and as detailed in the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights General Comment No. 14 on The Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health, we emphasize the seriousness of the present situation and its humanitarian implications. We remain committed to supporting the Government of Nepal in its efforts to ensure safe access to quality health care services.
Health care facilities at all levels lack over half of essential supply requirements. Reduced ability to access quality health care services and treatment is already affecting the most vulnerable, including pregnant and postpartum women, older persons, children, earthquake-affected communities and persons with acute conditions including obstetric emergencies and chronic conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Disruptions to public health programs, including routine immunization, will have an extremely serious and lasting impact on the health of children. Access to life-saving emergency services, including surgery, intensive care and blood transfusion, as well as referrals of complicated cases, have been severely impacted. The health and humanitarian implications of the present scenario are grave. Should the situation be prolonged, the effects will be exacerbated.
A working group including the undersigned UN and development partners continues to work closely with the Ministry of Health and Population to jointly explore all options for the provision of immediate assistance and support. Available in-country medical supplies have been mobilized and are being distributed to regional, sub-regional, district and zonal hospitals, while concerted efforts are being made to secure additional volumes of drugs to meet immediate needs. We urge all sides to address restrictions on the import and free movement of essential supplies including vaccines, drugs and other medical goods as a means of respecting and facilitating the human right to access quality health care services.