Our workthroughthe pandemic

In the last year and half our world has been rocked to its core by the COVID-19 crisis.
More than 15 months have passed since the WHO declared the outbreak a global pandemic. At the time of writing, South Asia was one of the worst hit areas with hundreds dying on a daily basis and thousands being infected at an alarming rate. Nepal has been one of the worst hit countries, plunging into a humanitarian and financial crisis with no end in sight.

In the last two months many Nepalese lost their lives whilst waiting for a hospital bed or an oxygen cylinder that simply never arrived. Nepalese nurses and doctors have given their best to save as many patients as possible, often working with inadequate resources and putting their lives at risk. But they are small in number and the pandemic revealed that the serious health professional shortage Nepal is suffering from is even worse than previously thought.

Since the start of the pandemic our team’s concern has been to reach out to communities living in remote, high altitude parts of the country where there are no health services, as well as to support Nepalese nurses in their critical role against Covid-19.

Nepalese nurses have to get up every morning (or afternoon if they work nightshift) and prepare for the possibility that they will encounter a patient with a deadly virus. They have been dealing with death at an unprecedented scale, every day. They are strong, but still human.

Throughout this crisis, one of our top priorities has been to help nurses staying physically and mentally well. Their well-being is central to our ability to overcome the challenges of the ongoing pandemic. Without them, Nepal and indeed the whole world cannot move towards a brighter, healthier and more equitable future.

What next?

We still don’t know when will this pandemic end.

In early June 2021 only 0.9% of people living in low-income countries had received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine (UN). In Nepal, the rest of South Asia and in most of Africa, billions are still waiting for a vaccine that few know when will arrive.

The physical and emotional scars left by this pandemic are yet to be measured and understood. As it is often the case, people living in low and middle-income countries and who struggle to access quality care services are likely to pay the highest price.

At Jaya Mental Health, we will continue bringing specialist mental health care to some of South Asia’s most forgotten communities. We will also continue offering free, confidential emotional and practical support to every health professional in need.

Above all, our commitment to improving the lives of people affected by mental health problems and to advocating for the role of nurses in this process will be stronger than ever.

Without the generosity and commitment of our supporters, none of this would have been possible.

On behalf of everyone at Jaya Mental Health, thank you.

Images by: Navesh Chitrakar; Alex Treadway; Jaya Mental Health