The Covid Situation in Bangladesh and Nepal
By Jenny Wilson, Connect Editor
We have all recently seen footage of the heartbreaking situation in India with hospitals being overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients and, sadly, the many deaths of people from this terrible virus. We have a number of people from Scottish Baptist churches working in different areas of the world for BMS World Mission and we have touched base with a few of them to find out what the situation is like for them.
We hear first from Joy Ransom, a BMS World Mission missionary in Nepal. Joy writes:
Many of you will have read of the devastating covid situation in India, but it seems that the worsening situation in Nepal has not yet been reported in the worldwide news. Since the beginning of April, the number of reported covid infections has risen from less than 100 per day to over 9000, with infections doubling every 2 to 3 days! As many people are not tested the actual numbers will be much higher and currently almost 50% of all tests are positive.
The limited health system in Nepal is overwhelmed. In Kathmandu and other large cities, sick patients are queuing outside hospitals in the hope of getting a bed and many hospitals are turning away patients. The biggest need is for oxygen which relatives are trying to buy directly from the manufacturers but there is not the capacity to meet the demand.
In spite of lockdown and travel restrictions being enforced, the situation is out of control, and we have not reached the peak yet. In Lamjung where I live, there are fewer serious cases and the hospital only has a few very sick covid patients so far. Unlike most of my neighbours, I have had the vaccine and so feel safe and protected but I am saddened to see the impact of this virus on this country.
Please join me in praying for these vulnerable people, who have nowhere to turn. Pray especially for oxygen and medicine to be donated from other countries quickly and for vaccines to be found and distributed. Pray for hospital staff who are near breaking point as they seek to serve their patients. Pray that God would deliver and save this nation and that many would turn to him even in these terrible days.
We have also had an update from Phil and Louise Proctor who are BMS World Mission personnel in Bangladesh who have not been able to go back and are currently working remotely from Dumfries with their team in Bangladesh. Louise writes:
Despite bordering India, Bangladesh is not seeing the huge cases of Covid that India is. However this does not mean that things aren’t concerning there. Bangladesh has been in lockdown for several weeks now, which has a huge impact on many lives. Lockdown in 2020 left millions more people penniless and hungry and far more affected by this than by Covid-19. Although cases this year have reached higher numbers than at any time last year they seem to have stabilised at the moment.
Schools were closed in March 2020 and have still not reopened. As BMS World Mission workers linked to a preschool education project this has not only had an impact on our work, but it is having a devastating effect on the children who are not able to access to education in any way. There is a great fear that many children will never return to school, and if they do how they will ever be able to catch up on what they have missed. For so many children there is no access to on-line learning, this is reserved for the privileged few, as many villages don’t have electricity or access to any form of computer. The teachers working on our project have been trying to reach out to children on their registers by visiting them outside their homes, but this is less than ideal.
Please pray that the pandemic does not worsen in Bangladesh and that a prolonged lockdown does not have the devastating effects we saw last year. Please pray for all of the children who are unable to access education at this time, that they remain safe and can return to their classrooms soon.
Louise recently updated me with the news that the Bangladesh vaccine programme has been temporarily suspended due to the worsening Covid situation in India. Please do keep the situations in Nepal, India and Bangladesh in your prayers as well as wisdom and strength for Joy, Phil and Louise.