May 8, 2020

Corona Virus 19 - in Nepal? In Rajbash?

Prevention list from February
Prevention list from February

If you too have been wondering how Nepal, a direct neighbor of China, has been affected by covid 19, here is what we know at this point: 

As of today, May 4, there have been 75 cases in the country. 16 patients are recovered and 59 cases are still active.  No deaths have yet been reported and 63,102 persons out of a population of 29 million have been tested.  Kathmandu has been on lockdown for over a month and our partners at DCWC tell us that this normally bustling city is almost empty. Nepalis are taking the shutdown very seriously.   Many of the residents have returned to their villages where they feel less threatened by the virus.  So far as we hear, there are no cases in Rajbash.

What is most interesting is the timeline for how the Rajbash hospital has prepared for an outbreak. 

On January 26, there was a posting from the health ministry that warned about an outbreak of a zoonotic corona virus.  They posted information concerning how to prevent the transmission:

     washing your hands often with soap and water

     avoiding touching eyes, mouth or nose with unwashed hands

     avoiding close contact with this who are sick

They explained how the virus is spread and that there is no vaccine to  protect against it.

By mid-March there were postings at the hospital showing the proper way to wash hands and our team were ordering masks.  

On March 22 our masked staff started screening people and took their temperature before they were allowed access to the hospital.  

By the end of March Rajbash staff, in full body protective gear, visited surrounding and outlying communities with a Covid 19 information meeting to inform villagers about the virus and how to protect themselves.   

By mid-April a screening tent was erected outside of the hospital. Any person desiring to enter the hospital had to first pass the screening before being allowed to proceed.

It appears that the non-urban mountainous landscape of Nepal with its widely dispersed and often isolated villages is also working in favor of lower infection rates. However, this could change once the urban population returns from the country side into the cities.

We wanted to send you this update as we have been very impressed by Rajbash’s mobilization efforts and adherence to safety procedures. They are taking all of the precautions quite seriously and we can only hope their efforts prove successful.

 

Help Desk at Hospital
Help Desk at Hospital
Taking temperature in front of hospital
Taking temperature in front of hospital
Staff with full PPE
Staff with full PPE
In a patient's home
In a patient's home
In reception tent in front of hospital
In reception tent in front of hospital
Feb 27, 2020

Introducing Rajbash's Health Assistant Geeta

Geeta at work
Geeta at work

Today we would like to introduce you to an important member of our medical team, Health Assistant Geeta .

Geeta's duties at the hospital are to work under the doctor’s supervision in treating and counseling patients, visiting communities to hold ‘mini health camps’ and health awareness programs, and provide health and hygiene knowledge to villagers (especially women).

Geeta was born in the Taplejung district of eastern Nepal, an alpine region that stretches below Nepal’s Kanchenjunga (at 28,169 ft the third highest mountain in the world). She grew up with 4 sisters and 2 younger brothers. Like many children, she walked 3 hours from her home to school every day. By the time she completed grade 7 it looked like this would be the end of her schooling. It took some convincing her parents to allow her to move to Banepa in Kavrepalanchok where she rented a small room and continued her education from grade 8 to 10 at the local secondary school. 

Geeta’s dream was to become a doctor. She would have liked to enroll in college to earn a MBB degree, however this was way beyond her parents’ means. Rather than give up on her dream she was determined to find another, more affordable path. That’s when she heard about a 3 year Health Assistant training program at Iwamura College of Health Sciences in Bhaktapur and soon enrolled in their program.

Her studies successfully completed she opted to gain practical experience by applying her new skills at an integrated community development health center for three years. Geeta had hoped to take her skills back to her village to benefit her community and also her family and younger siblings. However without a hospital in the area opportunities looked bleak. Through a friend she heard about an opening for a Health Assistant at the Rajbash Hospital and before long she joined their medical staff. 

Geeta still dreams of one day earning a Bachelor of Public Health degree. In the meantime she will continue to use her skills in service to her community.  Having recently married the school teacher at Rajbash elementary school we hope that Geeta will be attending to the health needs of this community for a long time to come.  

Farming in the hilly country of Nepal is back breaking work. Tending to buffaloes, goats and chickens, carrying bundles of firewood for cooking and grass to feed animals take a toll on the body. Cuts, broken bones and joint pains in the elderly are conditions we face on a daily basis. We were therefore appreciative that in December of last year we were able to offer a free Chinese Acupuncture Health Camp, courtesy of the Chinese Care and Support Association. The camps were a huge success. We served 226 patients from villages close and far.  As one of the volunteers commented at the end of the day: “They seem very happy with the treatment and got big smile on their faces”!

If you have been reading this report, you have been with us for a good part of our journey. The continuing access to medical and outreach services would not be possible without your ongoing support and generosity. For that we are deeply grateful.

Acupuncture patient
Acupuncture patient
Health check-up
Health check-up

Links:

Nov 25, 2019

Many Villagers Served

By Chanda Lama, Co- Project Manager

Namaste, A warm greeting from Nepal 

What an exciting 3 months it has been! We served a total of 1800 patients, a healthy increase over previous quarters. This is not only the result of better record keeping but also the result of our increased focus on outreach into more remote localities. 

While we still conduct our Free General Health Camps that routinely attract several hundred patients who come to be treated for free, we have now started to conduct Mini Health Camps in smaller villages. These have proven to be very popular with disabled and senior citizens as well as our very young patients. It allows them to get health check-ups as well as medications for free and at a more reasonable walking distance. As patient numbers are generally smaller, these camps require fewer staff members. Still, in many cases they have to hike for several hours with medical supplies on their back to reach remote villages.

An example is the Mini Health Camp held at Shree Darga Basic School in Doramba, Ramechhap District, on Nov. 14th, attended by 91 patients, most of them suffering from Acute Pulmonary distress, Multiple sclerosis pain, joint pain and Respiratory Tract infections. To make the journey worthwhile, 21 students in grades 1 to 5 were given a class in personal hygiene.

Another Free General Health Camp on Sep. 2nd at Shree Tara Lamo School in Wanthali, two hours walk from the hospital, was attended by 104 patients.  Four of our medical staff and a manager went with medicines to conduct the camp.

Two of our super versatile and capable women staff members, Outreach coordinator Shova Kumari Dhungana and Medical Assistant Geeta Kadariya continue to reach out to teen girls through personal hygiene classes and the distribution of eco-friendly sanitary pads. Speaking openly about bodily functions helps reduce the shameful feelings girls experience about menstruation. Having access to sanitary pads is also resulting in a remarkable reduction of truancy by teen girls during the time of menses.  

Ms. Shova also took her Health Awareness program to 7 different communities educating villagers about common diseases like typhoid fever, dengue fever, Scrub typhoid, respiratory disease and hypertension.

Inspite of her full schedule, Ms. Shova always makes time for pre- and post natal visits, reminding pregnant patients to have regular check-ups, and teaching new mothers about new born and cord care, the importance of immunization, healthy nutrition, and family planning.

As you can see, much is happening at and around the Rajbash hospital, and more than we have here recounted here. Stay tuned for our next report end of February with an introduction to one of our staff members.

 
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