Government not to accept medical aid worth below Rs500,000The Health Ministry has issued a set of standards that require donors from providing quality certified goods to following single window policy before making their donations.
Prithvi Man Shrestha
As Nepal is struggling to contain the spread of coronavirus, the government has announced that it will not accept medical aid worth less than Rs500,000 from domestic and foreign donors.
The Minimum Standards on Assistance endorsed by the Ministry of Health and Population on June 5 has stated that medical supplies provided to the government should worth at least Rs500,000.
“We fixed the minimum threshold for accepting the aid because of the low significance of accepting goods worth below Rs500,000,” said Bikash Devkota, joint secretary at the Ministry of Health and Population.
Foreign donors and domestic and international non-government organisations have been providing various medical assistance to Nepal to fight the pandemic.
The standards also mention that the aid materials should be certified by the quality control agencies, such as Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology and the Department of Drug Administration.
“If the quality certification cannot be performed by Nepali government agencies, the donated goods should have certification of the agencies from the countries of their origin,” the standards say.
Furthermore, the government has decided to only accept medical goods in the form of a complete package including the accessories.
In other words, if a country or an organisation decides to donate Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) kits, the donor is expected to provide Viral Transport Medium (VTM) to collect swab samples and RNA Extractor. Likewise, a donor of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) should also provide a set of mask, cap, apron, gloves, boot cover and goggles.
“We sought goods in a completed package because the missing items in the set are not easily available for purchase right now,” Devkota said. “The government is even willing to accept fewer goods in donation as long as they come in complete sets.”
The standards also require the donors of medical equipment to train health workers on the repair and maintenance of the machines.
The condition was set because it is difficult to buy machine parts and accessories in the international market at the moment, according to Devkota.
The government has also asked the donors to follow single window policy while donating medical goods.
“A donor should at least notify the Health Ministry before donating medical goods to a province or a local government. This is to avoid duplication,” said Devkota.
As for the tax and customs duty rebate, the standard states that the Health Ministry will coordinate with the Finance Ministry.