Many people living in remote regions of Nepal do not have access to primary healthcare, medical treatment or rehabilitation services. Medical care is not free in Nepal and poverty is widespread. Our mission is to support and work with our project partner organisation (Nepal Healthcare Equipment Development Foundation (NHEDF), an organisation that was set up after the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, to improve health outcomes and provide opportunities for people who experience life changing injuries or illness but cannot access medical and rehabilitation services due to poverty. Together we help rebuild physical and emotional health, self-reliance, dignity and confidence and change the lives of peo... read more Many people living in remote regions of Nepal do not have access to primary healthcare, medical treatment or rehabilitation services. Medical care is not free in Nepal and poverty is widespread. Our mission is to support and work with our project partner organisation (Nepal Healthcare Equipment Development Foundation (NHEDF), an organisation that was set up after the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, to improve health outcomes and provide opportunities for people who experience life changing injuries or illness but cannot access medical and rehabilitation services due to poverty. Together we help rebuild physical and emotional health, self-reliance, dignity and confidence and change the lives of people who have no one else to turn to and nowhere else to go. We provide funding that pays the wages of three nurses and a physiotherapist, and also funds medical and surgical intervention, pharmaceutical products and medical supplies to patients at NHEDF's Shelter as funds allow. The amount of support we can give is directly related to the number of donations we receive. We also work with our clinical staff to provide ongoing professional development and educational opportunities as appropriate. We are an Australian not-for-profit organisation registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) which gives us accountability and transparency with our Government, our donors and the general public. We were established at the end of 2016. We have two projects under the umbrella of our organisation and our NHEDF Shelter project is the main part of our work. We also accept referrals for women with obstetric fistula and are working with NHEDF to introduce an initiative called Circles of Hope which will provide opportunities for skills training and possible temporary employment for NHEDF patients manufacturing washable reusable sanitary products and incontinence pads specifically made for women with fistula. NHEDF used to be a not-for-profit organisation that repaired and recycled medical technology but after the April 2015 earthquake that devastated the lives of many in Nepal, this all changed. The Director, a wonderful man called Samrat Basnet, removed all the medical technology from the premises and took in patients when they were discharged from hospital way too early to make room for more. Samrat also engaged volunteer doctors, nurses and a volunteer physiotherapist and NHEDF became a medical Shelter, housing people instead of biomedical equipment and providing free medical and nursing care and rehabilitation services to people whose lives were changed by injury as a result of the earthquake. NHEDF had tremendous support both from the local community within Nepal and internationally. Samrat never dreamed that the project would be permanent - he thought he would 'shut up shop' a few months after the quake, and he could go back to being a biomedical engineer again, but patients kept coming. To this day hospitals, community organisations, other not-for-profit organisations in Nepal and individuals, especially nursing and medical staff continue to refer more patients to NHEDF than they can accept. Today, NHEDF's patients may not have earthquake related injuries (though we still have one patient who was injured in the 2015 quake) but they all have experienced trauma, illness and injury requiring rehabilitation and cannot access medical care due to poverty. NHEDF has a Shelter - a rented house - which is located in Kathmandu and this 14 - 20 bed facility provides free accommodation, food, medical intervention, physiotherapy, rehabilitation services and around-the-clock nursing care to as many patients as it can fund in a family centred environment. Everything at the Shelter is completely free thanks to the generosity of ours and NHEDF's donors. Life in Nepal is tough and life for someone with a disability in Nepal is even tougher as people with a disability are generally not treated kindly or compassionately in Nepal. Usually patients are referred to NHEDF following a lengthy expensive hospital stay, however sometimes patients come prior to embarking on this journey of navigating the complexities of medical care in Nepal. Either way, NHEDF finds the most suitable hospital in Kathmandu for investigations, specialist appointments and further surgery as required. Should surgery be required, they are transferred back to NHEDF as soon as they are well enough. Some patients stay only a couple of weeks; others' months, and the occasional patient 1 - 3 years as individual roads to rehabilitation are often long. Our NHEDF Shelter patients have all sorts of diagnoses resulting from trauma/injury/illness. Diagnoses range from fractures, soft tissue injury, amputations, wounds, burns, burns contractures, head injuries, neurological conditions and obstetric fistula. Some of our patients may have bone cancer requiring an amputation, extensive rehabilitation and the fitting of unusual prostheses. Occasionally Samrat accepts a patient who is terminally ill who is simply kicked out of hospital because they cannot pay any more and would otherwise be simply left to die. Patients are either referred or simply picked up from hospital foyers where they are found begging for money to pay for their medical care or that of a loved one. Almost all of NHEDF's patients come from remote regions which are severely lacking in funding, health and medical care. Most larger villages have a clinic staffed by a Health Assistant who has done two years of training and can dispense 35 different medications and do basic wound care and vaccinations, but their medical knowledge is poor. There are often no hospitals for anywhere up to a 2 - 3 day walk, or over the years, dirt roads have paved the way for lengthy rough journeys on a local bus. These hospitals may only have rudimentary services - they often do not have operating theatres, anaesthetists, surgeons or anaesthetic machines, or staff who can use them. Investigative technology and ancillary services like pathology are often basic or non-existent. Many people travel to major cities like Kathmandu to access medical care, and for many varied and complex reasons (including corruption) end up paying a fortune for their medical care. Many of our patients come to NHEDF after a lengthy history with the Nepalese medical system, and some of our patients have spent as much as US$20,000 - $22,500 on medical bills. We have not made a mistake with this figure and put too many zeros in - this figure is correct despite Nepal being coming between 27th and 30th poorest countries in the world and having up to 25% of its population living below the poverty line. Some of our patients are injured working overseas usually in Malaysia or the Gulf and are sent back to Nepal after initial treatment with no compensation. Also, there is no such thing as workers compensation in Nepal. All their savings from working overseas end up going on medical bills. The Government may provide a disability allowance if certain criteria are met, but this is approximately the equivalent of US $44 a month and many hurdles are put in the way which makes it difficult to even apply. As most of our patients come from rural and remote regions they have often sold all or most of their land which has been in their family for generations in order to pay their medical bills. Other patients keep a small parcel and home is a shack or a tent. Many women with fistula live in desperate poverty having been abandoned by their families. They cannot seek medical attention because they are poor; because knowledge of fistula in Nepal is poor; their injury is often not recognised; they are marginalised, socially isolated, often living in stables or caves having been abandoned by their family and ostracised by their community. Many of our patients are in debt to family, money lenders and/or their local community and some of our patients are suicidal when they come to NHEDF. All are in desperate circumstances. Many are unable to return to their pre-injury employment because of their disability, hence the Circles of Hope initiative which will support NHEDF's efforts to help patients help themselves once their rehabilitation is complete. This pilot program will eventually provide skills training and employment opportunities for both NHEDF and fistula patients and help them help themselves. NHEDF will establish a small workshop at the Shelter, manufacturing washable, reusuable, incontinence products which will be donated to NHEDF patients and women with fistula, and also sold in medical supply shops and other outlets initially in Kathmandu and then further afield. Women with fistula, some of NHEDF's patients and many other people in Nepal need incontinence products and none are available other than expensive disposable ones which are only sold in major towns and cities and cost $0.80 - $1 per pad. Our project addresses many articles of the UN Declaration of Human Rights and we are non-discriminatory; support children, women and men of all ages, castes, religions and ethnic groups; help alleviate poverty; improve health; support people with disabilities; improve access of people with a disability to earn an income; promote dignity, independence, self-respect and advance personal, social and economic well-being.
Each of GlobalGiving’s nonprofit partners is required to send quarterly donor reports detailing the impact of their work.