Nepal is reeling under an explosive surge of Covid-19, particularly Kathmandu Valley which is facing acute shortage of hospital beds, ICUs, oxygen and ventilators for the seriously sick.
But the pandemic has also brought out the best in people. Like sanitation expert Namastelal Bhumi Shrestha, who is convinced prevention is the only way to fight the virus.
For the past three months, Shrestha has been busy importing paper soap from India and distributing it free of cost to hospitals, banks and other frontline institutions in Nepal. His only regret: not being able to reach to the neediest, those who cannot even afford soap.
“One of the route of Covid-19 infection is through touch points, so I am trying to spread awareness by distributing soap for handwashing,” says Shrestha. “I haven’t been able to distribute it yet daily wage workers, the ones who need it the most.”
On the World Handwashing Day on 15 October, Shrestha did not only distribute the soap to the employees of various organisations he frequents, but also left more for them to redistribute elsewhere.
In his hometown of Bandipur, Shrestha aims to distribute paper soaps to all residents. In fact, he has already started to do so with the help of his nephew. He is also planning to distribute the soaps through ward offices and schools.
Shrestha who has been providing soaps for free of cost in Kathmandu, but is now limiting his daily distribution rounds. He is above 60, and although he is careful about safety measures he has to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infection for himself as well. But he still carries packs of the light soap strips whenever he goes out for work.