United States Ambassador to Nepal, Randy W Berry, along with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Nepal Mission Director, Sepideh Keyvanshad, have donated two liquid oxygen tanks to Bir Hospital and Paropakar Maternity Hospital in Kathmandu.

These liquid oxygen systems are joined to the central oxygen system of the hospitals, and will provide uninterrupted supply of oxygen, or refill around 40 cylinders of 40L capacity in an hour.

Four more liquid oxygen tanks are being installed in hospitals across the country with USAID’s support.

The United States also announced that it was providing an additional $10.5 million in urgent COVID-19 assistance for Nepal through USAID. The additional funding assistance will strengthen surveillance and contact tracing in municipalities, support laboratory systems, and expand antigen testing at border crossings, a press statement issued by USAID said.

“This funding will also help the Ministry of Health and Population develop protocols and guidelines on COVID-19 management, train and recruit healthcare workers to increase surge capacity, and strengthen critical care.”

COVID-19 Unified Central Hospital’s (Bir Hospital) Chief Executive Officer Dr Bhupendra Basnet and Paropakar Maternity and Women’s Hospital’s Director Dr Sangita Mishra were present at the hand-over ceremony.

This additional U.S. assistance builds on more than $90 million in COVID-19 support from the United States government to Nepal since the pandemic started.

The assistance includes $75 million from USAID in technical and commodity support such as oxygen cylinders, breathing devices, ventilators, and personal protective equipment.

In the last 20 years alone, USAID has invested over $600 million to improve the quality of health services in Nepal to help reduce maternal deaths, infant mortalities and eradicate malaria.