How is COVID-19 impacting the people of Nepal?

Nepal is highly vulnerable to COVID-19 for a number of reasons, including: poor health monitoring mechanisms; open borders with India; movement of migrant workers across borders; insufficient staff and equipment to deal with public health emergencies; and poor nationwide access to water and sanitation facilities and good hygiene practices.

Why is hand hygiene important?

Handwashing is the first line of defence to control the spread of infectious diseases including COVID-19. 

Along with other important behaviours, thoroughly washing hands frequently and at key moments is essential to control the spread of the virus.

Watch this video featuring staff from WaterAid Nepal as they demonstrate how to wash your hands properly:

What is WaterAid Nepal doing to stop the spread of COVID-19?

WaterAid Nepal is supporting the initiatives of the Government of Nepal (primarily Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) and WASH cluster) on a national response against the spread of COVID-19.

We are primarily building on the existing work on integration of hygiene promotion in routine immunization, supporting the Family Welfare Division of Ministry of Health and Population at a federal level.

Hygiene promotion is one of the most cost-effective public health interventions in general and for COVID-19 prevention. 

Watch this video to see how WaterAid Nepal is promoting hygiene behaviour through routine immunisation, especially handwashing with soap and food hygiene, to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

In addition, we are coordinating with the Ministry of Water Supply and WASH Cluster on response activity especially at local municipality and rural municipality level.

Our response: April - July 2020


Our phased response

We are tackling the COVID-19 response in three phases.

  1. Rapid response: we are rolling out a mass public awareness campaign for hygiene behaviour change to prevent the spread of COVID-19, providing handwashing facilities with soap and water, and advocating for the protection, safety, and dignity of sanitation workers.
  2. Intermediate response: we will formalise behaviour change interventions, ensure WASH contingency plans are adequately resourced, and we will scale up WASH facilities in communities and municipalities.
  3. Long-term response: we will focus on strengthening local WASH systems and sustaining behaviour change.

Contactless handwashing facilities

Watch this video which explains how our contactless handwashing facilities are helping people to stay clean and healthy:

This infographic details learning and reflections about our contactless handwashing facilities:


Public awareness resources

Posters and flyers

We supported NHEICC to design posters and flyers to raise awareness of COVID-19, translated and redesigned them in local languages, Tharu and Maithali, and distributed them in Siraha and Bardiya districts with help from our local partners DJKYC and BASE.

Video: preventive measures against the virus

In partnership with digital platform Vision 360, we have widely circulated the preventive messages on COVID-19 at a national level. 

Watch and share these videos featuring Miss Nepal 2005 and Miss Nepal 2015 with your friends and family.

Radio jingles

NHEICC approved radio jingles with preventive messages on COVID-19, translated and recorded them into local languages (Tharu and Maithali) with an appropriate background score using locally available professional voice artists. 


Hygiene Behaviour Change Coalition

Unilever and the UK Government Department for International Development have formed the Hygiene Behaviour Change Coalition (HBCC), a £100 million programme tackling COVID-19 in countries including Nepal, working with WaterAid and the Nepal Government.

Good hygiene is only possible with clean water

The statistics below highlight the poor provision of water, sanitation and hygiene both in people's homes and in healthcare facilities (HCFs) in Nepal. The situation is made worse by a lack of understanding about how important these three things are in keeping people safe, clean and healthy.

(JMP 2017)

Only 28% of the country's water supply systems are fully functional.

(Status of Drinking Water and Sanitation 2018/19, DWSSM)

52% of people don't have handwashing facilities with soap and water at home.

(JMP 2017)

36% of HCFs do not have a basic water supply.

(JMP Baseline Report 2019)

54% of HCFs do not have handwashing materials at the point of care.

(JMP Baseline Report 2019)

99% of HCFs do not have basic waste management practices.

(JMP Baseline Report 2019)