Worldwide Healing Hands sent a team of ten volunteer medical professionals to Ilam, Nepal last October, 2013, to help improve the skills of the Nepali operating room staff and mentor 2 Nepali ob/gyn physicians (to perform gynecological surgery),1 Nepali anesthetist, 1 Nepali intern and 1intern from the UK. We also made 960 patient visits - outpatient as well as emergency visits, performed 625 ultrasound examinations, successfully performed 25 gynecological surgeries, delivered 4 babies, including 1 emergency operative vaginal delivery, introduced an innovative new surgical instrument, the LigaSure; and introduced a cervical cancer clinical practice prevention program. These were the medical aspects of our mission to Nepal.
In addition to the above, we conducted an extensive midwife training program; preparing in advance to train 10 midwives, we carried equipment for that number. However,18 midwives from the eastern region of Nepal traveled to Ilam for training. Many of these midwives traveled for 4-5 days, some of them either carrying their own young infants with them - or leaving them behind - just for the opportunity to attend our training, so we welcomed all eighteen. Please see the attached Nepal Mission 2013 report for a more complete description and extensive beautiful photos of the mission.
One of the nearly 1000 patients we tended, Namita, a 49 year old mother of 6 children, suffered from severe prolapse of her uterus and bladder causing her to be in constant pain. She heard on the radio that our team was coming to care for women and traveled about 100 miles by bus. Upon examination, it was evident she had had this condition for many years; she never dreamed anything could be done to help her. Our gynecologic team performed a hysterectomy to repair of the pelvic floor with an excellent outcome. Later, on evening rounds, we noted she had not been taking any pain medication after having undergone a major surgery just 10 hours earlier. We questioned this and the nurse translated for Namita saying," I have been suffering for over 20 years and you have saved me from this [future] pain. I am so grateful to all of you for what you have done - and I do not wish to complain."
Namita’s response bespeaks the common condition for the women of Nepal. For like Namita, their suffering is a way of life. No gynecologist had been in this remote area of Nepal for a year, not since our last mission in 2012. On behalf of Namita and many other grateful patients, we express our gratitude to all - who by your generosity - made it possible for us to travel to Nepal and make a sustainable contribution.
WORLDWIDE HEALING HANDS (WHH) keeps traveling to serve the women in under-served areas worldwide. We prepare now to travel to Sierra Leone in early Spring 2014. Sierra Leone is one of the most dangerous places on earth to give birth with a shocking 1 out of 7 women dying during childbirth; or if she lives, not having the transportation she needs to seek medical care from a midwife or hospital, she suffers prolonged labor ( 2 to 15 days) resulting in horrific obstetric fistulas. Please see our new project FISTULA SURGERY SAVES LIVES OF WOMEN IN SIERRA LEONE.
On September 19, 2013, a second team of Worldwide Healing Hands volunteers traveled to Ilam, Nepal, to continue the midwife and surgical training begun last year. This year the midwife training camp housed and trained a total of 18 midwives, two local Nepali physicians (to perform gynecological surgery), 1 Nepali anesthetist, 1 Nepali intern and 1 intern from the UK - by performing multiple surgeries and examinations with them; in all we visited 960 patients - outpatient as well as emergency - performed 625 ultrasound treatments, successfully performed 25 gynecological surgeries and delivered 4 babies!!
Hundreds of women, some traveling days from all over the region lined up each day for the opportunity to receive medical care from our team. We prepared in advance to train10 midwives and thus carried equipment for that number. However,18 midwives from the eastern region of Nepal traveled to Ilam for training. Many of these midwives traveled for 4-5 days, some of them either carrying their own young infants with them - or leaving them behind - just for the opportunity to attend the training, so we welcomed all eighteen.
With the help of interpreters, our doctors, nurses, midwives, and others, our volunteers worked their utmost to serve the people who arrived in need of medical care. After long days, team members slept in tents on the hospital grounds to be continually close at hand during this mission
Training midwives was the main goal of the mission to Nepal. The midwives who attended left with new knowledge, new skills, many with "clean birthing" kits that allow for safer deliveries, and at least 10 were equipped with the basic supplies that allow them to carry on after our departure - doing their job even better than before, saving lives.
When you save a mother, you save a family. Your donations to Global Giving helped us to buy supplies such as the clean birthing kits, and the equipment that was given to the midwives for use long after the mission was completed.
We plan more medical missions to such remote areas in the near future. You can be proud and we are grateful to the donors at Global Giving.
Photos by Nathen DeHart
We are planning our next midwife training camp in Ilam, Nepal for late September, 2013 into early October. Midwives will travel from the surrounding regions of eastern Nepal to gather at Himalayan Healthcare’s Community Hospital in Ilam for 10 days of intense hands on training.
Our midwifery skills training program in Nepal includes teaching our students how to suture. They are eager learners and master the skills very quickly. With your generous support we are able to equip each midwife with a delivery bag, which includes a basic set of instruments for suturing. The bag also contains many other items for them to practice including a stethoscope, a blood pressure cuff, a fetoscope, gestational wheels and a booklet entitled Helping Babies Breathe.
Basic Suture set:
Rat toothed forceps for suturing
Straight scissors for suture cutting
Watching these midwives master the skills we teach them is rewarding beyond measure. The midwives learned many skills that they will take back to their communities to provide a much higher level of care. And they are committed to provide training to other midwives in their areas. Midwives in Nepal practice in very remote areas, where help is several days away. Therefore, every bit of training, and every piece of equipment, becomes critical to save lives. By helping us to train midwives in Nepal, you are saving lives.
Most of the Worldwide Healing Hands medical team members congregated at the San Francisco airport on October 27, 2012. One team member left from New Zealand and joined us in Kathmandu. Once in Kathmandu, the physicians had to appear before the Nepal Medical Counsel for an interview in order for us to be granted temporary licenses practice medicine in Nepal. We flew to Bhadrapur and continued by van for a 3-hour drive over bumpy and often unpaved roads to Ilam in eastern Nepal.
The midwife training took place at the Ilam Community Hospital. The hospital staff was very helpful and graciously brought delicious meals to us and the midwives. We all slept in tents on the roof of hospital. The classes ran early morning to late in the evenings.
Our midwife training specialist, Lynn Arnold, provided training to midwives from the eastern region of Nepal. Many of these midwives traveled for 4 to 5 days on a bus (that was neither air-conditioned nor comfy) to attend the training. Several of our team physicians also helped to train the midwives.
We equipped each of the 10 midwives with basic supplies, including a blood pressure monitor, stethoscope, retractable tape measure, 2 gestational wheels (to calculate due date), 4 to 6 disposable aprons, several packages of vitamins, disposable birth kit, and the booklet entitled Helping Babies Breathe.
The training included gestational age assessment, pap smears, newborn exams, resuscitation, use of vacuum, suturing, post-partum hemorrhage, and many other procedures to promote maternal and infant health—and much more. For example, none of the midwives had ever seen a gestational wheel to estimate delivery date.
The midwives learned skills that they will take back to their communities to provide a much higher level of care. And they are committed to provide training to other midwives in their areas.
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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