The right to health in Nepal during Covid-19 remains largely a paper promise. In June I wrote about how the government had largely ignored orders from the Supreme Court to act immediately to meet its health commitments in both international and domestic law.
Today the International Commission of Jurists, whose 2020 briefing paper was the centre point of my article, released an updated version—it is equally depressing.
“Overall, the Nepal Government has not adequately or appropriately adapted its health system to face the second wave of the epidemic. The health system remains unprepared and unlawfully in defiance of a range of orders of the Supreme Court relating to the realization of the right to health,” says the paper, Unprepared and Unlawful: Nepal’s Continued Failure to realize the right to health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“A change of government has not brought a substantial change in approach, as the deficiencies identified under the government of Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli seem to have persisted since the new government of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba assumed authority in mid July 2021,” adds the ICJ document.
Of course, as a least-developed country Nepal is not expected to provide world-class care to its citizens, especially because many nations previously considered to be world leaders in health care have failed in many ways during the pandemic. But, “The government needs to show that it’s acting on all the recommendations, and if it can’t take specific actions because of lack of resources, it must at least show that it is making serious plans,” ICJ International Legal Adviser, Mandira Sharma, told me in June.