०४ कार्तिक २०७७
(Tuesday 20th October 2020)

By ranjit Acharya


60 hours of effort and we have 30000 PCR and 30000 RNA extract kits donated by Swiss Government to Nepal Government in Kathmandu from Singapore. Happy, I could coordinate with ministries, Nepal Airlines, Swiss Embassy and local agent of Roche Pharmaceuticals to bring these items to Kathmandu from Singapore.
Please read only if interested to know the details of this effort.

On 4th May, I received a call from Dr Roshan Pokhrel of health ministry stating these kits donated by Swiss Government have arrived at Singapore and he asked if I could help to bring those kits to Nepal, like last time’s Temasek consignment. I immediately saw the possibility and said let me try.

Then made few calls, went to the health ministry, got a request letter made to NAC and took it to the Chairperson Mr Sushil Ghimire. I requested him to get the flight to Australia (which was Chartered by Australian Embassy for 6th of May)to land in Singapore while coming back from Sydney. Explored with operations director to seek permission from Singapore but the overflying permission had already come from 7 countries changing the route seemed impossible within 24 hours. By then the Roche Pharmaceuticals local agent, Sushil Thapa had already come in contact with me. These kits were manufactured by Roche and their local agent was involved in the supply chain. Then we decided to try and transfer the goods to Malaysia as NAC was touching down at KL airport for refueling on the way to Sydney. After that, spoke to our Malaysian ambassador Udaya Raj Pande and requested him to coordinate for the effort.

Then Roche Singapore got in acted promptly and confirmed to do trans border transfer. All was looking good until NAC said they don’t have cargo intake permission from KL civil aviation. It was too late to seek permission as it was already 8pm there in Malaysia. And the agent in Singapore had to move the products from the Roche warehouse anyhow. They were calling every minute but no one was ready to take the risk to move the products without permission. Ministers had gathered together, were speaking to the Malaysian authorities and the ambassador. While we were given 5 minutes ultimatum by Roche Local freight forwarder, here no one was ready to give us go ahead. At last, I was left with no option but to take the risk. So suggested to move the products from Singapore to Malaysia, as we still had one full day to seek cargo permission on 6th of May.

Sushil and I decided to have back up plans. Plan B was to manage warehouse in KL, if in case we needed cold chain management. And as another back up, I spoke to private sector friends, if in case we miss this flight then be ready to charter another flight to Malaysia. After an hour Tourism minister called and said “we have decided to take the risk, let’s move the products”. However, I told him I had already taken the decision an hour back as there was no way we could have waited.
Next day in the morning the permission for cargo came in and products reached KL airport.
Then, I spoke to Captain Vijay Lama, who was flying to Sydney. Coordinated with him to oversee the product handling at KL airport.
Happy to have witnessed products worth 15 crores handed over by Swiss Ambassador to Health Minister at the airport this evening. Grateful to Swiss government for this timely donation as RNA extracts were out of stock in Nepal. Now we are able to resume PCR tests.

Mission accomplished. Unlike last time the support by Tourism Minister, Foreign Minister, Tourism Secretary, Health Minister, NAC team, Crew members, Local agent of Roche Pharmaceuticals, Ambassador in Malaysia is worth mentioning.
It is true that, If there is will, there is a way 🙏

Hope this post will encourage others to take individual initiative.

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