Health and Social Protection services at local level: lessons from COVID-19 first surge in Nepal (full report)
COVID-19 led to health emergency situation of an unprecedented magnitude across the globe. Strong health systems of the most developed countries also struggled to cope with the increasing demand for intensive care generated due to COVID-19 infection. Countries with poor health system were unable to comprehend its own coping mechanisms. For Nepal, this was the first large scale crisis since establishment of federalism in 2015 and eventually the country entered into an early lockdown on 24 March, 2020. Stringent restrictions on movement and economic activities resulted in disruption of health services and loss of jobs, particularly affecting people living on daily wages.
Studies that have put the local governments into perspective and tried to understand the opportunities and challenges faced in addressing the pandemic, have been very few. This was important especially as Nepal transitions from multiparty democracy to federalism. In this context, this study was undertaken to understand how the local governments addressed the crisis particularly in two sectors: health and social protection services and to understand the challenges in doing so. The findings from this study is expected to support the local governments in preparing for the remaining of the pandemic as well as crisis of similar magnitude in days to come.