Children's Medical Aid Foundation

Children's Medical Aid Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of impoverished children and families in Nepal by bridging healthcare needs with access to healthcare services. We facilitate the fund development, local and international partnerships and volunteer assistance required to provide no- or low-cost healthcare services to indigent families in rural, remote areas of Nepal.
Dec 6, 2012

Children's Lives Transformed

Ritima
Ritima's hand before surgery

WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO:

Ritima is a 6-year-old girl from the far eastern plains of Nepal. She was born with a birth defect known as syndactyly, which means fused fingers on both hands. Ritima was reluctant to go to school because of her abnormal-looking hands. She had been the subject of ridicule among her peers and feared due to superstitions about birth defects. She was isolated from her peers and community. Ritima came to our attention while the mobile medical team was in Biratnagar, near her hometown, during one of our screening camps. Functionally, her condition did not handicap her, but if left untreated, it could cause the longer of the two fingers to bend towards the shorter one during growth, and leave it bent, even if separated.

Once Ritima knew her fingers could be separated and . ,look normal, she was very happy. A key challenge in helping children like Ritima, who live in rural areas of Nepal, is that it can take many hours to reach the nearest clinic or medical assistance. From where Ritima lives, it usually takes more than 18 hours of bus travel to get to Kathmandu. Because of our rural outreach surgical camps, she only had to travel 4-5 hours to get to Biratnagar. After Ritima had her surgery in Biratnagar, she was delighted during the first dressing change to see her fingers separate. We did the surgery on only one hand because bandaging and plaster on both the hands makes it difficult for the children to take care of themselves. We performed surgery successfully on the other hand three months later. Ritima is now back in school and playing with her friends, and enjoying her life with her family. Instead of a life of isolation and no opportunities, she now has a promising future.

As we near the close of 2012, Children's Medical Aid Foundation (CMAF) is pleased to celebrate the Nepalese children whose lives have been transformed by corrective surgery, sponsored through support of our Corrective Surgery Program. Under the direction of Nepalese plastic surgeon Dr. Shankar Rai, 131 children received corrective surgeries and physical therapy treatments. Thirty percent of these surgeries were performed at Kathmandu Model Hospital by the Plastic Surgery Department; and 70% were performed by the mobile surgical team in13 rural outreach camps in Butwal, Nepalgang, Biratnagarr, Pokhara, and Suket. In addition, CMAF donated 50 pounds of medical textbooks to facilitate the education of Nepalese nurses and technicians at Kathmandu Model Hospital who participate in the Corrective Surgery Program.

I've been in Nepal since October 2012, primarily to meet with Dr. Rai and conduct needs assessments with the Corrective Surgery Medical Team. I have also been meeting with Nepal-based NGOs to explore partnerships for mobile eye and dental clinics in rural Nepal; and I am arranging medical tours to go to Nepal in 2013. The medical tours will combine in-the-field volunteer opportunities for medical professionals with an exciting sightseeing itinerary. Proceeds from the tours will benefit CMAF programs. Thank you to all those who have shared our vision and passion for children and families in Nepal. We look forward to many new adventures in the coming year!

Ritima
Ritima's hand after surgery
Corrective Surgery Team
Corrective Surgery Team
Little Sangha recuperating from surgery
Little Sangha recuperating from surgery

Links:

Sep 11, 2012

CMAF at work in Nepal

Tongue-Tie before corrective surgery
Tongue-Tie before corrective surgery

In August 2012, Dr. Kiran, the Outreach Program Director for the Mobile Surgical Team, headed up a team visit to Pyuthan Camp, about six hours from Kathmandu and a day’s walk from the nearest road.  Pyuthan is Dr. Kiran's home village where he grew up in a mud-walled house with 11 brothers and sisters.  He followed his father’s wish to become a doctor so he could care for the village people.

 
Two CMAF-sponsored patients were among the many patients cared for during the Pyuthan surgical camp. Care included a follow-up visit to see how our patients were doing (see photos).

1) Shreya had a bilateral hand syndactyly, two fingers that were joined on both the right and left hands. After surgical correction, Shreya’s hands look perfectly normal and she is free of the stigma caused by her deformity.  Her physical transformation means that she can go to school and play with other children without fear of ostracism, and that someday she can marry and raise children of her own.

2) Have you heard the phrase about being tongue-tied, not able to talk? Well, it’s a very real condition that can easily be corrected, rather than leave the individual to a lifetime of discomfort. We were able to correct a tongue-tie for Subikshya. The membrane along the bottom center of her tongue was attached to the lower mouth.  This made it impossible for her to raise her tongue when trying to eat or create vowel sounds. After the surgery, she can now eat and speak properly, and her confidence has improved immensely. 


Resurge and other international medical organizations continue to do a great job of reaching and treating children with cleft lip or cleft palate. The CMAF Corrective Surgery Program addresses a variety of disfiguring congenital defects not treated by other organizations. This includes large facial moles, syndactyly (webbed fingers or toes), polydactyly (“extra” fingers or toes), constriction band syndrome (hands or feet constricted by amniotic bands), symbrachydactyly (abnormally short, webbed fingers), and hypospadius (malformed ears). 


Due to impoverishment and the geographical restraints of remote, rural living, children suffering from injuries often cannot access appropriate, timely care.  Those cases are referred to as post-traumatic injuries, and can include such conditions as infections that cause improper healing or bone fractures that don’t mend properly and result in handicaps.  In addition to treating congenital defects, the CMAF Corrective Surgical Team can sometimes help correct deformities and/or improve compromised function resulting from poorly healed injuries. 


The Mobile Surgical Team is comprised primarily of native Nepalis who bring their cultural understanding and communication abilities to their practice. They are assisted periodically by volunteer physicians, nurses, and therapists from other countries. Medical students and professionals are encouraged to contact us to find out about volunteer opportunities to work with the Mobile Surgical Team.


Fall is our busiest time of year. We are sponsoring our 8th Annual Kathmandu Festival in Sonoma, CA (where we are based) on Sept. 15th and 16th, which helps raise funds for the Corrective Surgery and Clinic Development programs. I will be visiting Nepal this fall to meet with Mobile Surgical Team members and explore possible collaborations with rural clinics and NGOs providing other types of medical services to populations we also serve. Watch for updates and photos from Nepal on our Facebook page during October and November!

Tongue-Tie corrected with surgery
Tongue-Tie corrected with surgery
Example of syndactyly
Example of syndactyly
Shreya after corrective surgery
Shreya after corrective surgery
Large facial mole...
Large facial mole...
...corrected with surgery
...corrected with surgery

Links:

Jun 19, 2012

New rural clinic opened!

Volunteer Dr. Cranmer tends to young patient
Volunteer Dr. Cranmer tends to young patient

We did it! Thanks to our generous donors and in-kind contributions of materials and services, Chisang Clinic is now open and serving a population of 30,000 people in the region of Bhawanee in rural eastern Nepal. Children's Medical Aid Foundation raised $13,622 in funds, including $7,780 from GlobalGiving donors, plus contributed many hours of volunteer time to support the Chisang Service Committee.

Chisang Clinic officially opened on April 13, 2012. Within two weeks more than 200 patients were seen. Based on demographics and identified healthcare needs in the area, the clinic is focusing on promoting women’s health through the provision of maternity and obstetrics care, including antenatal, natal, and postnatal care and monthly Well Women Clinics. Chisang Clinic also strives to improve the health of children through established Well Child Clinics and monthly Immunization Clinics. Additionally, use of the facility is provided to other local and international NGOs for special outreach programs such as eye and dental clinics. Beyond acute clinical care, the clinic promotes community health through public health and disease prevention services.

Now that the clinic is open, expansion activities are already underway, under the direction of the local Chisang Service Committee. Area residents have donated sand, bricks and labor to do the groundwork for the clinic extension that will increase capacity for providing education, screenings and treatment.

In reaching the goal of opening Chisang Clinic, Children’s Medical Aid Foundation was instrumental in:      

• Designing the program concept in partnership with Chisang Service Committee and providing long-range

          planning for program development of Chisang Clinic services   

• Identifying construction needs and services for the remodeled facility

• Assessing the operational needs for staff and patients

• Procuring necessary medical supplies and equipment for patient care

• Purchasing and delivering Toshiba ultrasound unit through individual donations

• Providing architectural drawings for remodel of present and future buildings

• Developing promotional material such as postcards, T-shirts, posters and banners

• Promoting Chisang Clinic and medical volunteer opportunities at U.C. Global Health Day

• Posting clinic information and progress updates on CMAF Facebook and website

• Meeting with Nepal’s UNICEF Director to initiate a working partnership focused on their Women and Children’s   

          abuse program (still in discussion)

CMAF is very proud and delighted to have been part of getting Chisang Clinic launched. We deeply appreciate the support we have received for this special project. It is clear that the Chisang Service Committee has the capacity to see the clinic grow into a sustainable community-supported healthcare and birthing center. The Commmittee's dedication, perseverance and ability to enlist the help of the community was key to completing this project in less than one year, on schedule and within budget. Children's Medical Aid Foundation continues our commitment to empower rural Nepalese communities by supporting development of access to medical care using locally sustanable business models. This includes our Corrective Surgery Outreach Program and Medical Clinic Development.

April 30 journal entry from clinic volunteer, Dr. Briana Cranmer: 

A jumble of Nepali voices dance through the darkness. There is nervous tension in the air. “Ke boyo? What happened?” At the center of a crowd stands a mother tightly grasping the hand of her frightened son. Despite her calm demeanor there is a sense of urgency in her eyes. Closer inspection reveals dried blood spattered across their hands. The mother slowly moves her thumb to reveal an open wound at the base of her son’s ring finger. Her son sliced his hand on a piece of sharp tin 30 minutes ago. We are the closest medical center for 80 km and the only place available at 7:00 p.m.

“Kripaya timi sahayog garna sakchau? Can you please help?” Soap and water, a little lidocaine, and four stitches later the boy whispers, “Malai sutna man lagyo,” he is ready for bed. With a payment of 130 rupees ($1.75 USD) the audience disperses and clinic life settles back into the rhythm of the village.

This patient is only a small representation of the many acutely and chronically ill that the Chisang Clinic is able to care for. The ease and speed with which the clinic Director Debendra Karki and Children’s Medical Aid Foundation Director Carol Vernal have established the Chisang Clinic reflects the strength of their determination and their commitment to the Bhawanee community.

For a medical professional, this is the essence of medicine. Where you use flashlights because the electricity won’t come until 8:00 p.m.; where water is hand-pumped from the ground because plumbing is questionable; and where tools are sterilized with boiled water because autoclaves are unavailable. Where you are forced to rely on your stethoscope and ears because X-rays and ECGs cost precious time and money; where you learn to trust your instincts because specialists are not a phone call away; where you hone your physical exam skills because lab tests are not readily available; and where appropriate patient management may mean the difference between a life-threatening ruptured appendicitis and a life-saving appendectomy. I am forever changed by this experience and thankful to be a part of such an impressive endeavor.

Clinic will specialize in OBGYN care
Clinic will specialize in OBGYN care
The work to expand continues
The work to expand continues

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