COVID in Nepal | Bearing the Weight of Protecting Others – Barsha’s Story
This is Part 2 of a three-part series on COVID-19 in Nepal. Check back to read more about how the people of Nepal, and especially the Little Sisters, are coping with the coronavirus pandemic.
Read Part 1: Helping Those in Need – Mamata’s Story
While in many places masking has become an issue for debate or an expression of political leanings, in Nepal wearing a mask has been a common occurrence, even before COVID-19, due to air pollution and concern for spreading illness. In July, Kathmandu instituted a mask mandate with a 100 rupees ($.90) fine for non-compliance. Masks have now become standard fashion on the streets of the capital city and many businesses are repurposing their current manufacturing systems to respond to the increased demand for masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE).
Putting on a mask for a quick trip to the grocery store is one thing, wearing layers and layers of (PPE) all day long is quite another. This is what life has been like for Barsha, a 2014 LSF graduate. Barsha is a dental hygienist at Sajha Swostha Clinic in Kathmandu. Her occupation carries a high risk of exposure and infection, but she understands people need her to show up to work each and every day despite the risk. “The whole process of putting on, wearing, and taking off all of this PPE can be exhausting, but it’s critical that we take all the safety measures and precautions necessary to keep everyone safe,” explained Barsha.
The COVID situation in Nepal is daunting as numbers continue to rise and the country struggles with many of the same things that are occurring around the world–a lack of testing capacity, a scarcity of healthcare resources, and PPE shortages.
We are proud of Barsha for her dedication and commitment to caring for others even when that care puts her and her family at risk. “There was a point when I felt like I shouldn’t go home because if I was infected then my mother could also be infected,” Barsha said. “The situation in Nepal is really miserable, many people have been infected and some have died but on the brighter side, we are also seeing many people recover.”