Videoconferencing facility eases crisis communication in Sudurpaschim

March 31, 2020

Demonstrating how technology could be leveraged to better serve during times of crisis, the Government of Sudurpaschim Province has initiated engaging with its constituent districts through videoconferencing.

Chief Minister of Sudurpaschim Province, Trilochan Bhatta and two other ministers on Tuesday organized a videoconference call with all nine districts of the province to take stock of the situation and discuss about preventive measures and emergency actions taken by the local authorities to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The Government of Sudurpaschim Province, however, found the new solution, which was recently installed at the Sudurpaschim Provincial Assembly in Dhangadhi and District Coordination Committees in all nine constituent districts.

During the meeting, Chief District Officers (CDOs) of nine District Administration Offices of Sudurpaschim Province briefed the Chief Minister on the security situation of the districts while Chairpersons of the District Coordination Committee (DCC) briefed how the DCCs are coordinating with local governments and district-based health institutions for the prevention and control of the disease, including management and operation of quarantine facilities.

Medical superintendent of district hospitals shared that they were in serious crunch of medical equipment and human resources and requested the provincial government to urgently help them with the supplies. The district level authorities also shared about the challenges they were facing in enforcing the lockdown and monitoring of the quarantine facilities and requested for additional logistics support such as fuel, vehicles and security personnel.

Chief Minister Bhatta took note of the demands raised by the district authorities and assured them of possible support. “The provincial government is taking and will continue to take all necessary steps for the prevention and control of the disease. I urge you all to work with high spirit and motivation at this time of crisis,” said Bhatta from the videoconference room set up at the premises of the Provincial Assembly in Dhangadhi.

Feedback on the use of VCF

After the videoconference, Chief Minister of Sudurpaschim Province Trilochan Bhatta said, "This was my first experience and I realized that videoconferencing facility can, in fact, be used by the government for multiple works. This technology is very helpful to connect to the districts and get updates instantly." He suggested connecting the local level governments as well via VCF.

"With the use of technology (VCF), we can collect information from all stakeholders instantly and disseminate to them the right information instantly. This technology is very useful during emergency as well," said Internal Affairs and Law Minister, Prakash Bahadur Shah.

Nripa Oad, Mayor of Dhangadhi sub-metropolitan city, who attended the videoconference from the Provincial Assembly said, "I found the facility very useful and innovative. It saves both time and money", he added, "Since the technology is quite useful, it should be used all the time, including during the emergency."

With the objective of connecting the parliament with the people and promoting open parliament and parliamentary outreach, the VCF was installed in the provincial assemblies and all nine offices of District Coordination Committee with support from UNDPs' Parliament Support Project in February 2020. Since then, the Provincial Assembly has been using VCF for various activities, including for public consultation on the bills. And now with the unfolding health crisis, the facility has been used by the executives as well, the Provincial Government.