Health Link
Promoting cooperation in the health sector between the people of Britain and Nepal

British government assistance

From the very first vaccinations to sector wide funding

Treating the elite — The earliest available information on British assistance to Nepal’s health sector is residency doctor HA Oldfield (1850–1863) treating members of the ruling class on the recommendations of Prime Minister Rana Jung Bahadur Rana. At the time there were no modern medicine facilities in the country. Oldfield also carried out the first vaccinations in Nepal in 1850 by vaccinating the children of the family of the Prime Minister. He identified smallpox, malaria, cholera, tuberculosis and problems related to childbirth as the major health problems of the time (Dixit 2005).

British government aid — The opening up of Nepal to the outside world after the end of the Rana regime in 1950 saw the beginning of modern development aid. In the 1950s British fellowships to Nepal were initiated, which allowed Nepalese to study in the UK while maintaining close links to Nepal.

Continuous support — Through to the modern day the UK government remains a principal donor to Nepal’s health sector. UK government aid came from the Overseas Development Administration (ODA) until 1998 and then from the Department for International Development (DFID).

Recent support — In the 1997–2009 period much of this aid was focussed on safer motherhood, which resulted in large reductions in maternal and infant mortality (MDGs 4 and 5). The UK government has also been one of the major proponents of unified donor support to the health sector through government systems (Nepal Health Sector Support Programmes 1 and 2), which began in 2004. The on-going DFID-funded Nepal Health Sector Support Programme (NHSSP) manages technical assistance to NHSP-2. In 2014/15 the UK government pledged £15 million to Nepal’s health sector.

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