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WHO Director-General and Regional Director conclude Nepal visit

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Kathmandu,The Director-General of World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and WHO South-East Asia Regional Director, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, had a courtesy call with the Rt. Hon. President, Bidya Devi Bhandari, and Rt. Hon. Prime Minister, Sher Bahadur Deuba, on day two of their visit to Nepal.

The WHO leaders were accompanied by WHO Representative to Nepal, Dr Rajesh Sambhajirao Pandav, and Dr Shambu Acharya, Director of Department of Country Strategy and Support.

During the meeting, Rt. Hon. President, Bidya Devi Bhandari, highlighted the importance of multisectoral collaboration in improving health outcomes for the country.

Dr Tedros commended Nepal’s recognition of health as a basic human right in its constitution. In their meeting with Rt. Hon. Prime Minister, Sher Bahadur Deuba, Dr Tedros lauded Nepal’s overall COVID-19 response and efforts towards achieving Universal Health Coverage.

Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh congratulated Nepal for prioritization of health in the national budget and noted how the investment has yielded tangible returns.

Prime Minister Deuba thanked WHO for its leadership in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and urged WHO to further support Nepal towards enhancing the capacity of healthcare workers, strategy development for elimination of cervical cancer, and introducing the HPV vaccine in the country.

The delegation also visited a school in Lalitpur to observe the ongoing Typhoid Conjugate Vaccination campaign.  The campaign aims to reach 7.5 million children aged 15 months to 15 years with the vaccine and was launched with support from GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, WHO, and UNICEF on 7 April. With high vaccine acceptance across the nation, the campaign is progressing at a brisk pace.

The dignitaries then visited the genome sequencing laboratory at the National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL), Department of Health Services (DoHS).  With the in-country capacity development of genome sequencing, Nepal is now able to rapidly identify high threat pathogens of public health concerns. It was through the lab at NPHL that the country detected its first case of the Omicron variant.

DG congratulated the leadership at NPHL and DoHS for their accomplishments.

The WHO delegation had called upon Honorable Health Minister Birodh Khatiwada; Honorable Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr Narayan Khadka; and Rt. Hon. Chairperson of National Assembly, Ganesh Prasad Timilsina; on 21 April.

WHO Director-General is here upon the invitation of Honorable Minister for Health and Population, Mr. Birodh Khatiwada. The visit will conclude on 23 April.


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