Mar 21, 2016

The Process Of Recovery

New home for family in Nagre Gagarche
New home for family in Nagre Gagarche

The building of temporary shelters has been a lifesaver for so many Nepali villagers whose homes were demolished in last year's earthquakes.  Some still live in lean to’s or at the edge of unsafe damaged homes, with tarps for walls. These insecure, unhealthy environments can lead  to sickness , impoverishment, and despair. The devastation to the communities can’t be overstated. A dry environment, protected also from the wind and the elements provides a safe, secure haven to begin to recover, and people can then face other challenges. Here is the story of one village family as told by a member of our staff:

"This 47 year old woman is an inhabitant of Nagre Gagarche VDC-9, Duti. At April 25 she was working in the field and everything was moving and could not stand up and sat down with her husband Tul and children and in the next shake she was at home with her children and she says that she was so afraid and could not walk out because her children was sleeping upstairs and with a big fear she had brought her children outside then stones of wall was falling down. After that she stayed outside with tarpaulin tent given by DCWC but faced many trouble to stay in the tent. Now we could get materials for temporary shelter from DCWC and we did other works to build a temporary shelter. She said that it is very good now and warm in this winter otherwise would be very bad. Now she has forgotten her trouble before due to earthquake and normalizing their life with family."

To date 167 shelters have been completed and more are in the process of being constructed.    The  floor plan can be adapted to many materials. A simple rock and mud foundation wall, with embedded wood post and beam construction, provides the initial structure. The siding can then be wood, bamboo, plastic, or corrugated tin/iron.  Some timbers, rock, and some of the corrugated material can be salvaged from devastated old homes.  Most villagers have chosen these types of materials to implement the basic shelter floor plan.  Workshops were given to demonstrate construction techniques and expert guidance was given during the construction.   Similar to a ‘barn raising”,  groups in the community form to help build each others’ structures.  This coming together to build is helping to reignite a sense of community and belonging.

Lured by the promise of good jobs and high pay, many of the healthy young men have left the villages and their families to go to the Middle East.   In their attempt to support their families, the wife is left to care for the household, the children, the raising of some food, and the construction of shelter.  Many of the seed stores were destroyed during the quakes as well and most fields ended up lying fallow.  Parts of the water system were also damaged and made the water unfit for consumption.  A volunteer water expert from France  evaluated the situation and laid out a feasible plan for repair that is now being implemented. 

Permanent housing:  That is another story.  The government is attempting to set guidelines for safe construction, but how those will be implemented in remote villages is a big question.  International aid for reconstruction has yet to be released to the villages.  In Kavre people feel they cannot count on the government to help them.  It therefore is even more important  to continue building  “temporary“ structures for now. 

Much has been written in the press about government corruption,  the inept administration of aid to Nepal, and how little actually gets to the remote countryside.  Unfortunately much of it is correct. This is why it is so important to support vetted local Nepali NGO’s that are embedded in their communities and who know what needs to be done for whom. Funds raised from our “Earthquake Relief” fundraiser and generous grants from Global Giving made it possible for DCWC, our local Nepali NGO,  to start building shelters for people months ago. However, the need for more housing is huge, and until a plan can be created to implement long term housing, we will continue to create 'temporary homes' that allow families to return to some sense of comfort and normality.

We are grateful to all of you who have helped to support this devastated community.  

Interior of a 'temporary shelter'
Interior of a 'temporary shelter'
'Temporary shelter', opposite wall
'Temporary shelter', opposite wall
Woodsided temporary shelter
Woodsided temporary shelter
Village woman receiving stipend to buy door
Village woman receiving stipend to buy door

Links:

Mar 21, 2016

Infant and maternal health in Nepal

Little Sonam the morning of his discharge
Little Sonam the morning of his discharge

The following video by gifted Nepali journalist and film maker Subina Shrestha powerfully illustrates why our work in Nepal is so immensely important. Please take a look:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZ76DB1NSfE

The government of Nepal invests around Rs 3 billion annually in maternal and child health, and the country has made great strides in recent years to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (under-five child mortality has been reduced to 38 per 1,000 live births and the number of infants dying in the first year after the birth has decreased to 33). Yet, compared with other developing countries, much work remains to be done. 

Studies show that infant and maternal mortality rates are particularly high 

  • among illiterate women, 
  • among those not involved in decision making for their health care,  
  • for women who had birth intervals of less than two years, 
  • who have multiple births, 
  • are from rural areas, 
  • are poor, 
  • whose source of water was the river or unprotected source, and 
  • who did not have a toilet facility in their household.

This pretty much describes the demographics of the area that the DCWC Rajbash hospital has been serving for the last 5 years.  Actually, the DCWC’s efforts of improving the quality of life of women and children have a much longer history. Since the year 2002 this small NGO has been serving poor, illiterate and disempowered women in remote Nepal by conducting literacy classes, including financial literacy, and by making presentations about basic health and hygiene. Once the hospital opened, outreach was extended to include even more remote areas (see our report #6). Challenging long held cultural traditions is not always well received, however we believe that by continuing to educate both, men and women about the risks of home births in unhygienic conditions and without proper maternal support, we will convince ever more families to use our hospital for safe birthing and for proper perinatal care. 

Our recent government designation as a regional birthing center allows us to provide some small financial incentives for women who chose to give birth at the hospital. Ideally, of course, we want pregnant women to not only come for delivery, but to seek proper pre- and post-natal care with us as well. It would enable our certified midwives to ensure a healthy progression of the pregnancy, provide support and advice, particularly to new mothers, and administer important vitamins or meds if needed. Once an infant is in the system, there would be follow-up with post natal check ups and proper vaccinations.

The Health Ministry has delegated two nurses to the Kavre district to administer vaccinations. However,  lacking proper facilities and refrigeration, the government has asked Rajbash Hospital to become the 'vaccination central'  for the district in the future. We have applied for government funding to purchase an appropriate refrigerator for the proper long term storage of vaccines. The power from our recently installed solar panels (which have been performing beautifully) will guarantee that vaccines and medications will be properly refrigerated.

The Health Ministry has also asked for our cooperation in their efforts to expand family planning in rural areas. They are looking to our outreach staff to educate villagers about various family planning techniques. In addition they are planning to provide modest financial incentives for women and men who chose to have tubal ligations or vasectomies at our hospital.

The last three months at Rajbash were still very much dominated by the shortage of medicines and other essentials due to the closed borders between India and Nepal. The 5 months embargo was finally lifted in February, and we hope that life will slowly return to normal. Given the challenges the Nepali people and DCWC have faced throughout the last year, we are moved by their courage, steadfastness and resiliency under pressure.

Total patient numbers have held steady compared to last quarter. However we have seen a surge in gynecological and pediatric cases which could mean that our outreach activities are bearing fruit.

One of the pediatric patients was one year old little Sonam who was carried down a steep slope for two hours by his anxious father. The child was feverish and seemed very cold. The dad really wanted to take his son to the city hospital ‘to get the best care’, but since the bus did not run for lack of petrol (embargo) and he did not have the money for other transport, he decided to come to the Rajbash hospital. The little guy was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection and with proper treatment and only one day at the hospital he was sent back home with his very grateful father.

Another patient, a 68 year old male, found himself with acute abdominal pain in the middle of the night and was terrified he might die without treatment. He asked his wife to gather nearby relatives to carry him the two and a half hours to Rajbash hospital. Fortunately our ambulance was able to meet the party halfway and delivered him and his family to the hospital. Treatment for acute gastritis was started immediately and by morning he felt well enough to head back home. He was thanking god and our staff for what seemed to him like a new lease on life.

Announcements:                                                                                                                                                                     May 21/22, 2016 -  Akka Lama, founder of DCWC, will be present at the Himalayan Fair in Berkeley, CA.                         April 2017            -  We are planning a charity trek to Annapurna Sanctuary for the benefit of Rajbash Hospital                 For more information email: pgraneys@yahoo.com.

In closing we want to express our gratitude to all of you who have provided the ongoing support for the delivery of essential medical care to the poor in the remote Kavre district of Nepal. If you are interested in other activities of DCWC, we'd like to draw your attention to our ongoing rebuilding project (#21975) on the globalgiving.org website.

 

 

68 yr. old patient - a new lease on life
68 yr. old patient - a new lease on life

Links:

Dec 17, 2015

DOUBLE YOUR DOLLARS!

A new life at Rajbash hospital
A new life at Rajbash hospital

                 HELP US KEEP RAJBASH HOSPITAL OPEN

                 DONATIONS MATCHED THROUGH DECEMBER 31ST!

 

Nepal has been devastated by earthquakes, incompetently administered relief efforts, and, more recently, a de facto embargo of goods from India. The embargo of petroleum products has brought the country to a near standstill. Food and medicines are in short supply and 3 million children under 5 yrs. are at risk of disease or starvation.

Throughout these crises, our DCWC Rajbash Community Hospital has been a beacon of hope for people in the Kavre/Sindhupalchok region.  It has provided ongoing medical services and perinatal care to thousands of subsistence farming families in this remote rural district since 2010. After the earthquakes it became a command center for relief activities in the region and provided free medical treatment for those injured in the quakes. 

Unfortunately the hospital was not spared during the earthquakes of last Spring. Major damage occurred on the second floor and equipment was lost when the May 12th quake devastated houses and livelyhoods in the Kavre/Sindhupalchok region. For months patients were treated under a make shift tent in the hospital yard.

As Dr. Uddhav, our Nepali physician, just reported, the repairs of the hospital are almost done, and life will become easier for our staff. They look forward to having separate spaces for each department and for the wards again. As befits our new government designation as a regional birthing center, a birthing unit with a delivery room and a nursery will have a separate space on the second floor. In collaboration with the Nepali government the hospital would like to start a regular vaccination program. However, we are in need of a freezer that would allow us to keep vaccines from spoiling. 

While we have not yet been terribly affected by the current shortage of medicines, there is no guarantee this will remain the case if Nepali/Indian borders remain closed and the import of medicines becomes problematic.

In our last report we told you about a trip we were planning for April 2016: A mission to rebuild the damaged hospital kitchen and to show our solidarity with the Nepali people as they try to recover from a very difficult year.  Due to the volatile political situation in Nepal and the shortages of supplies we have now decided to cancel our trip to Rajbash until further notice.  We feel it is more important, at this very challenging time, to focus on ensuring the ongoing operations at the hospital. For this we are asking for your help.

We are pleased to announce that the generous Benito and Frances C. Gaguine Foundation has offered to match any donations made to the hospital through December 31st. This is your chance to make a donation to our hospital, to DOUBLE YOUR DOLLARS, and to ensure essential medical care for this very challenged population. 

It can be overwhelming to think about the many challenges facing Nepal, but donating today is something very specific you can do to help Nepal’s people.  Please, Double Your Dollars with this match.

With deep gratitude from the entire DCWC community and our best wishes for a peaceful holiday season. 

Karin Reibel

Project Leader for DCWC projects

 

 

 

Our newly donated warm crib for newborns
Our newly donated warm crib for newborns
The newly repaired second floor at Rajbash Hospita
The newly repaired second floor at Rajbash Hospita
 
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.