Fall 2013 Himalayan Healthcare Update
Himalayan Healthcare continues to work with the people in rural Nepal to provide medical care, build toilets and stoves and provide educational opportunities. We have continued to provide medical services at our hospital in Ilam with a medical camp being held in a village near there in August and a gynecologic camp in September. We continue to work with our Rotary Club colleagues to safe build latrines and efficient stoves to increase people’s daily health.
A medical camp was held in August in the village Antu Danda in Ilam. Patients came from the surrounding area and waited in long lines while 375 patients were seen over two days. Patients had access to physician-level care as well as pharmacy and laboratory services.
Dr. Paula Dhanda arrived with a team of medical volunteers to provide medical and surgical education at our hospital in Ilam this September. They were involved in training surgeons and midwives from the Ilam area. 960 patients were seen and 36 gynecologic surgeries performed over the course of the week.
We continue to work with the Rotary Club of Kopundole in Kathmandu and receive funding through a generous Rotary Club in New York. We have a village latrine program and have built 50 toilets since January in the villages of Tipling, Sherthung and Lapa; 50 more toilets will be completed in 2013. We have also built 100 new efficient woodstoves in homes in these villages to reduce dangerous exposure to smoke and to decrease fuel needs, preventing deforestation.
It is with great sadness that we cancelled our fall medical trek – the first time in 20 years we have ever had to do this - due to the current political instability in Nepal. There is an impending Maoist (Vaidya group) shutdown (bandh) for 10 days. This shutdown is in opposition of the elections and will start on November 11th, the same day our trek was to begin. Because of this unstable political climate, we could not guarantee the safety of our medical volunteers or staff members. As an extra precaution, the Nepali government is mobilizing the army for protection of the election centers; this is not normal protocol for elections. The government has stated that they would not be able to provide us with security or predict the situation. A spring trek, however, is planned for April.
Your continued support of our organization in these difficult political times is crucial to our work and we are grateful for all the support we have received from our Global Giving supporters. We are hopeful that the political situation will stabilize and we will be able to return to the villages in the Dhading region soon.
Summer 2013: Himalayan Healthcare
Himalayan Healthcare continues to provide care in rural Nepal, with special medical treks in April and November. In recent months we ran a medical clinic in the village of Sumbek in eastern Nepal, worked with our partner GlobeMed on several new projects, and continued to build efficient stoves and toilets with support from the Rotary Club. Our educational projects have continued in the villages of Lapa, Tipling and Khading. We also hosted business students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan Business School to investigate options to improve the sustainability of our hospital in Ilam.
Dr. Susan George, a pediatrician who has volunteered with Himalayan Healthcare since 2008, was at our hospital in Ilam from June 9th to the 18th. She is involved in a research project—“Study of the impact of neurological diseases in children and their families in Ilam district”. In addition, she provided care at a medical camp in the village of Sumbek in June. 165 patients were seen at this clinic, indicating the continuing need for medical care in the region.
Himalayan Healthcare works with Globe Med on many projects. This summer, a GlobeMed team of five students on the Grass Roots On-siteWork (GROW) program are in the village of Tipling for 8 weeks. These students taught English, math and science at the Dhongden Devi school, and worked on the latrine and stove projects. They have also aided with a health survey and a malnutrition project.
HHC also partners with the Rotary Club of Kopundole in Kathmandu and receive funding through a Rotary Club in New York. From this support we have a village latrine program and have built 50 toilets since January. We have also built 100 new efficient woodstoves in homes in these villages to reduce dangerous exposure to smoke and to decrease fuel needs, preventing deforestation. A trainer trekked up to the villages from Kathmandu to train the blacksmiths in making tin boxes to place over the new woodstoves to help with radiation of heat inside the house for the cold winter months.
Looking forward, we are creating three new first aid centers in isolated villages. Over two thousand people live in isolation and have to travel long and arduous distances to access medical care. This project will provide emergency care for the Hindung ward of Sherthung village, Nebir and Khading of Lapa village and Linjo of Tipling vilalge. Himalayan Healthcare will train three individuals in these areas to deliver first aid and dispense appropriate antibiotics and other basic but critical drugs.
A midwife, Rasa Maya, trained by Himalayan Healthcare, recently opened a new clinic in the village of Khading, in Lapa, with a population of 1,000. She will run a small pharmacy and provide emergency services. (The nearest emergency care is currently over two hours away.) A team of Alaskan social workers also went to Khading to meet with the women’s empowerment group and conducted workshops. The Women’s Empowerment classes address the topics of domestic violence, alcohol abuse, immunization, birth spacing, hygiene, child care and nutrition.
Our educational program also continues. Five computers and a printer have been placed into the new high school that Himalayan Healthcare built in Lapa in 2012. In addition HHC has arranged for computer training for 8th, 9th and 10th graders in the school. We also helped to provide cement for the floors, glass for the windows to protect the computer equipment, furniture for the school, and have helped to raise funds for a school in the village of Khading.
Himalayan Healthcare will have its next medical trek in November 2013. Your continued support of our organization is crucial to our work and we are grateful for the donations we have received from our GlobalGiving supporters!
Himalayan HealthCare Update: Spring 2013
In late March/ early April Himalayan HealthCare completed its latest medical trek with its largest group ever. Comprised of 17 volunteer healthcare providers and a total of 112 people (comprising Nepalese medical staff and porters), the group successfully traversed high mountain passes of the Ganesh Himal region - including Phangsang Pass at over 13,500 feet - to reach remote villages. The group held medical clinics and helped over 800 patients in the villages of Sherthung and Lapa, including some who had walked at least a day to get to the camp from villages like Tipling and Jharlang. Several patients, mostly infants and children, were given life-saving treatments, and at least 70 people were referred to larger hospitals for further care of ailments such as heart problems, cataracts, and trauma to bones and other body parts. One patient, a child who needed an immediate operation for an inguinal hernia, was helicoptered, with funds from HHC, to Kathmandu and is now doing well after his surgery. Over 60 patients received eyeglasses for the first time due to eye assessments carried out by our healthcare volunteers.
“What is most striking is the subsistence level of the locals,” said Prabhjot Uppal, MD, an HHC medical trekker from the Fall 2012 trek to the same villages. “Toddlers without shoes; their feet hardened and swollen from exposure. Grandfathers with years of physical labor deeply creased into their faces and buried beneath layers of hand-woven cloth. Young mothers wrought with worry over their newborns with runny noses and the pressures to provide. Every morning the lines of locals were long outside the clinics; a testament not only to the tremendous need for primary care but the respect and reliance on the services provided by Himalayan HealthCare over the decades. Many families traveled for days over long and treacherous trails just to be seen, often carrying their unwell loved ones strapped to their backs. Not a day passed that I did not realize the full weight of my responsibility and requisite.”
In addition to the medical services provided during the spring trek, a groups of HHC Board members also supported efforts to monitor and improve toilets and stoves in the villages. Further, this team visited a Lapa School to assess the improvements accomplished through HHC funding, such as providing school furniture, and the construction of a computer room for use by grades 8, 9, and 10. The Tipling village school committee also finalized an agreement with HHC for funding the expansion of the school through purchasing additional land. The school committee and village chiefs in Khading, a more remote region of Lapa, also met with the team to discuss an expansion of the women’s program with the hopes of supporting a future school in the area.
In mid-March, HHC hosted four final-year business students from MIT’s Sloan School of Management who are assessing the challenges and opportunities of HHC’s Ilam hospital as part of their course work. The US volunteers visited the hospital in far eastern Nepal and conducted local interviews. After two weeks in the country, the students reported that HHC’s hospital had “won the hearts of many in Ilam” and provides area villagers with hope for more healthcare services in the future. Their recommendations are forthcoming on how to move the hospital towards greater sustainability that will enable HHC to do even more for the underserved region.
HHC is very grateful for all the support we have received from our GlobalGiving donors. Many thanks for helping the people of Nepal and we hope you will remain engaged with our progress.
Himalayan HealthCare (HCC) provides health, education, and income-generating programs to over 265,000 individuals in rural Nepal. By training local leaders and supporting community programs, HHC positively impacts the long-term sustainable development needs of Nepali villages that are often only accessible by foot. Himalayan HealthCare’s programs have helped these hard-to-reach villages for the past 20 years.
Himalayan HealthCare has been able to continue to provide much needed health care to thousands of patients in rural Nepal at our hospital in Ilam due to the generosity of our many supporters. In 2012, 9,315 patients were served in the hospital. Prenatal care was provided to 138 women and 98 surgeries were performed including seven successful C-sections. The hospital also continues to provide outpatient care, emergency services, an HIV clinic, immunization services, and village medical camps to serve those who cannot easily reach the hospital.
In November we hosted a two week ob-gyn camp at the hospital. Over 1,400 patients were seen and 36 surgeries were performed by a group of volunteer surgeons, physicians and nurses from the United States (photos from this event accompany this report). In addition, there were five days of training for the local midwives and numerous Clean Birth Kits were provided for them to facilitate their services.
Our hospital in Ilam was featured in a National Geographic assignment blog posted December 21, 2012 by Jesse Seaver. Jesse writes, “although it serves as an imperative medical resource for the local population, the hospital struggles to survive under financial and political strains.”
Himalayan Healthcare will continue to provide health services where others do not, and we very much appreciate the support we receive to realize this goal. We look forward to continuing our services in rural Nepal.
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