WHO director general visits Nepal to evaluate vaccination drive

Kathmandu, Apr 21 (EFE).- The director-general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, arrived in Nepal on Thursday for a two-day visit to evaluate the progress of the anti-Covid vaccination drive being carried out by the Himalayan nation.

Tedros landed in Kathmandu along with WHO’s regional director for southeast Asia, Poonam Khetrapal Singh, after a three-day visit to neighboring India.

“Always a privilege to be in Nepal, pioneer of a number of health initiatives in WHO South-East Asia Region,” Singh tweeted after reaching the Nepali capital.

Singh hailed Nepal’s efforts in scaling up Covid-19 vaccination and for being on track to achieve 70 percent coverage among the national population by mid-2022.

“The delegation is happy with Nepal’s vaccination drive progress,” Roshan Pokhrel, the secretary for health and population, told EFE, referring to the campaign which was launched in the country with WHO’s help.

According to Nepal’s health ministry, 66.5 percent of the population, or around 19.41 million people, have been fully vaccinated against Covid as of Thursday, while 76 percent of the population has received at least one dose of the vaccine.

During this stay, Tedros is set to visit the Sukaraj Tropical and Infectious Diseases Hospital in Kathmandu, as well as the National Public Health Laboratory and a primary health center.

He is also set to meet President Bidya Devi Bhandari and Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba.

Nepal had been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, as tourism and mountaineering form important parts of the country’s economy.

The Himalayan nation had been forced to shut its borders several times due to infection rates surging rapidly.

In March, the government lifted all the restrictions imposed in the Kathmandu valley after cases dropped significantly and the number of vaccinated people rose. EFE


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