The Nepal Trust

Working with health, community development and hope in the Hidden Himalayas. We work with local communities, government and NGOs in improving and implementing basic health care provision in remote areas, develop and conserve community infrastructures that contribute towards conservation of nature and culture and promote and create income generating opportunities to support the local economy with the aim of enabling sustainable projects, reducing poverty and improving the quality of life.
Aug 26, 2014

Medicines to go.

Medicines awaiting air shipment.
Medicines awaiting air shipment.

The Nepal Trust has recruited a new Health Manager to oversee our work in Humla, the most remote and impoverished district in Nepal. Gorkha Bandari has recently graduated as a health professional and, very importantly, he comes from the village of Thehe in Humla. Thehe is the largest Hindu village in Humla and very poor but driven by aspirations for improvement. The Nepal Trust, in collaboration with Dutch donors, is constructing a new community school which will raise educational standards and life chances for the students.

One of Gorkha's first tasks was to familiarise himself with the NT clinics many days walk apart. He had also to supervise the distribution of fresh medicines to each of the clinics. The following is Gorkha's own report:

'Despite the start of the monsoon and the currently severe floods that take place throughout the country the Nepal Trust was able to send a big shipment of much needed medicines into Humla for distribution at the clinics. Local contributions obtained through patient treatment fees have also contributed to local transportation costs related to the medicine distribution.
In the first 6 months of 2014 Nepal Trust clinics treated 4,867 adults, 345 children below 5 years and provided family planning services to 1,008 people, totaling 6,220 patients up to the month of July 2014.
A field trip took place in which the NT health manager visited various clinics to discuss the programme and the running of the Clinics and Birthing Centres with both NT staff and the respective health committees.
Bargaun and Sarkegad birthing centers are near completion and also the refurbishment works at the Sarkegad clinic has started. As soon as this is finished, we are able to stock the new centres and provide medical equipment, such as delivery beds, operational equipment and the like.
The Little Doctor Programs in Simikot, Bargaun and Yalbang are ongoing and already have proven successful as students are eager to learn about healthcare, first aid and healthy lifestyle issues.'

Medicine distribution to the clinics.
Medicine distribution to the clinics.
Patient care.
Patient care.

Attachments:
May 29, 2014

Looking Back.

New developments move ahead steadily in keeping with the remote, and very relaxed, way of life in the Hidden Himalayas. The lack of roads and other essentials of 'modern life' in this very mountainous region can make working there difficult but rewarding. Local people are hard working and very enthusiastic about the positive change that is slowly happening and bringing new hope to this beautiful but remote corner of the world. They contribute in many ways through their own resources and labour and also in decision making and sourcing funding from government agencies. The Nepal Trust is there to help facilitate this self-help approach and support the local communities to achieve their goals.

The new Birthing Centres are progressing well. Bargaun has started recruitment of specialist staff and is virtually up and running. The Sarkegad building is now complete, with the help of a Community Assistance Grant,  and internal work is underway. The adjoining Government Health Clinic, originally built by the Nepal Trust, is now receiving urgent remedial work necessary as the result of years of neglect through a debilitating civil war centered in this particular area. Funding for the Yari Birthing Centre is almost there and work will be starting shortly.

Our 2014 Little Doctor Health Education programmes are now fully subscribed and funded. Thank you to all who have contributed to support this innovative and very worthwhile project.

It is, perhaps, appropriate to look back and think about why the Nepal Trust is here trying to make a difference. Twenty years ago a young mother from Humla approached two British doctors and asked them to please come and establish a health clinic in her home district of Humla where there was nothing functioning. Within two years a brand new clinic was operating a service and attracting patients from two to three days walk away - such was the need! From there we have established a chain of clinics and services covering most of this remote and impoverished district changing lives and bringing hope.

The following are extracts from 'A Personal View' written by a young British doctor who spent a month working in one of the more remote clinics over 15 years ago.

'Its been an experience of a lifetime. I have, like on all journeys, gained so much personally but I think I have also given much too. I feel like I have been part of something very rare, part of a tradition and way of life that is in danger of disappearing for ever.

The people I worked with are very special. Their way of life is very hard and unromantic but, from my perspective, it was very romantic, peaceful and spiritual.. However, I did gain some understanding  of their perspective as I lived at the clinic on my own. This meant cooking, collecting firewood, cleaning, clinic teaching,washing - all without modern tools, light, electricity, etc. It was hard work and yet I was lucky that my work did not involve 8 hours of back breaking work in the fields! Suddenly you understand why the women who come to the clinic laugh at you when you tell them they must wash themselves and their children every day!

Life takes on a whole new perspective and I don't think I will ever be the same again. I think I will struggle with the demanding 'Western' patients who have driven 5 minutes down the road and demand to be seen right away. In Humla I saw people who had walked for two days with severe Rheumatic Heart Failure and still sat patiently waiting to be seen.

Medicine in remote areas: no resources, no means of evacuation, no money, no time, no understanding. Very difficult! I know so little of a HUGE problem. I can only give my brief experience and perspective to others; my opinions and ideas almost worthless in such a big complex of problems.But, I feel I did some positive small changes during my time at the clinic. I feel, at least, that I left behind three Health Workers who were a little more knowledgeable, motivated and informed. I think that my time at the clinic improved its reputation, increased the people's trust in the clinic and trust in Western health workes and the Nepal Trust.'

Fifteen years has seen many changes, still no roads but mobile phones in places! Many volunteer doctors and health professionals have contributed over the years and many share similar sentiments. Things are improving. Our integrated approach has seen significant improvements to lives and societies. Children survive the early dangerous years and health knowledge has been widely disseminated through our child health education programmes. The clinic in the report above is vey successful and run in collaboration with another specialist NGO to ensure resources are used efficiently and meet all essential needs.

However, it's a long haul and not a simple in-out operation!

Thank you for all your support. Please spread the word.


Attachments:
Mar 3, 2014

Life is Hard for Women.

Sarkegad under construction
Sarkegad under construction

Life is indeed hard for women in Humla. Particularly in the Hindu communities, woman are responsible for much of the hard labour as well as having to raise and support children. Officially banned in law the ancient practice of chaupadi is still widely practiced particularly in the more remote villages. Menstruating women and those in child labour are banned from the home to cowsheds and outhouses because they are considered impure and will bring misfortune such as crop failure, illness and death to the family. It is thought that if they touch men or anything in the house, cook or use public water tanks or wells the community will be punished by the gods.

Slowly these perceptions are changing through education and the Nepal Trust is helping to promote the change through its chain of health clinics and its child education programme. Our Little Doctors programme trains over 60 young students annually in basic health care and young girls now understand that the changes to their bodies is a perfectly natural function that should not be hidden away but helped.

The Trust is also building three Birthing Centres where mothers can give birth in a safe environment. Each centre is linked to an existing Health Clinic so that resources can be used to best effect. The first Centre at Bargaun village is nearing completion and will support a number of surrounding Hindu and Budhhist villages including the largest Hindu village in Humla. The second Centre at Sarkegad is well on the way to completion helped by a Community Assistance Grant. Sarkegad is the economic centre of south Humla and developing rapidly. Our third Centre at Yari will start construction later in the year. Funding is almost in place supported mainly by Rotary International.

Our clinics were very busy during 2013 and over 9000 patients were seen and received treatment. Poor hygiene and dirty water were responsible for a lot of intestinal problems and skin diseases. Smoky homes and damp conditions led to a variety of respitory disorders and conditions like conjunctivitis. Pneumonia and intestinal problems were particularly bad amongst the under 5 year olds and is a major cause of the very high infant mortality rate in this region. Family planning advice and support was given in nearly 4000 cases.

In this report you will see a link to a film on YouTube, 'Journey to the Sky', made by Rotarians from Durango in Colorado. We have said previously that our work is carried out in a very integrated way. We have built many hydro and solar energy schemes over the years to provide clean energy and lighting to homes that previously were lit by polluting oil lamps. This alone has had a beneficial impact on reducing respitory disorders. This film is about a group of Rotarians who travelled to Humla to install solar lamps in a number of homes and villages. They also became involved with one of our Little Doctors courses and saw for themselves how important and valuable this type of health education is.

Thank you for all your support and I hope you can continue to do so or pass on the good news to family and friends.

A class of Little Doctors
A class of Little Doctors
A smoky home.
A smoky home.
Namaste.
Namaste.

Links:

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