Dear friends and supporters.
For all of us the Covid19 virus has created all sorts of problems and made life so much more difficult. Imagine how it must be in Humla, one of the remotest corners of the world. Nationwide Nepal has an expanding infection rate and has only 12% of the population fully vaccinated. There is now a real concern that a third wave of infection will happen particularly as the build up to the main festival season of Desai and Tihar develops.
Humla District is the remotest part of Nepal and not easily accessable except by foot or by a small plane if you can afford it. The good news is that Humla has one of the lowest Covid infection rates in the country. We believe that our childrens health education programme, Little Doctors, has contributed to wider health awareness amongst families and siblings and helped to keep the infection rate low.
Since our last report the weather has improved, making travelling easier and allowing access to the more remote clinics. Infection rates show that about 1000 people have been infected with Covid with only one death. 425 have received vaccination. Our 8 clinics have been very active with other treatments and over 2800 patients have been recorded. In addition nearly 2000 have received other medical services.
Our 8 clinics through our delivery partner SHIP is supporting the governments efforts to limit the spread of Covid by strengthening the local health system and its workers. This cooperation is invaluable and helping the local Health officer to manage under difficult circumstances and limited resources. As soon as the schools can get back to full function our Little Doctors health education programme can start again and help to establish real health awareness.
Many thanks to all of you that have supported us in the past. Without your help over the years we could not have achieved much in such a remote and difficult to access area. It is such a beautiful part of the world and deserves your help; perhaps you can spread the word amongst your friends and colleagues?
We have to keep going.
Dear Friends and Supporters
Due to the soaring Covid-19 numbers in Kathmandu and some other major cities in the country like Nepalgunj, the government has announced a strict order of prohibitions that is very similar to a fully imposed lockdown. From several hundreds of cases a day the figure has risen to 3-4,000 daily in Kathmandu and all shops have been closed and vehicle movement is strictly forbidden.
Remarkably, and unusual for this time of the year, there has been heavy snowfall in Humla cutting off trails and flight movement in general. Humla has witnessed more and more Covid-19 cases in the last months and although one can argue the restricted movement of people due to snowfall makes it less likely for people to spread the pandemic, it also makes treatment and getting necessary supplies into Humla to deal with the pandemic and healthcare, in general, more challenging, especially as Humla, for the main part, depends on cities like Nepalgunj to fly in goods.
In the last winter months of 2020, a time when people barely travel around, about 900 people have been treated through our clinics with an additional 225 people treated in the health hub of Kermi village where one of our clinics is located.
This shows that the virus has been spreading throughout the district and although the government has started a vaccination rollout program, we must be cautious and keep working to press down the potential surges that could have a devastating effect. Especially as Nepal depends on the supply of vaccinations from nearby neighbors such as India and China there is a chronic shortage of vaccines available and it may take time to have everybody vaccinated against Covid 19. During this period the risk of getting the virus remains quite severe and all people, including health workers and development workers, must remain extra careful.
In India the situation is getting worse even more, with daily cases of over 2-300,000 in Delhi alone. Due to this the air traffic to and from India has been blocked by many countries and many Indians have been using Nepal as a ‘transit heaven’ to conduct flights to other nations. This has alarmed the Nepal government who have, in response, blocked transit travellers from India. In all it is getting worse and we hope we won’t have to face a similar situation as last year, in which the country locked down for over 10 months.
While the economy was slowly getting back on to its feet again this renewed government lock-down is having a major impact on daily wage earners in industry, trade, and tourism. Foreign employment and development works have all been stopped.
Despite all this we have continued our work with SHIP Nepal to provide healthcare in Humla through provision of staff, essential supplies and medicines for treatment of patients and assist the government in its Covid-19 prevention program.
As you may appreciate any help is welcome in order to continue this work that helps people who otherwise would have limited options to seek treatment, if not at all. We are very grateful for all your support and help in the past but Covid waits for no man and we must work harder than ever in this remote and impoverished corner of the Himalayas. Please help if you can and tell your friends about us. We need you all more than ever, as we have to keep going!
Dear Friends and Supporters
Despite the on-going trauma of Covid 19 and the ever present danger of a rapid spread of infection our work in Humla is having a very positive result. Our implementation partner, Self Help Initiative Promotion Centre (SHIP), have reported successful control of Covid-19 spread throughout the district; particularly in the 8 clinics they are responsible for. More importantly, there have been no deaths from the virus so far. This is a remarkable result given the remoteness of Humla and the major difficulties of procuring and sourcing PPE and medical items. During lock-down the Trust was given government permission to fly in medication and covid prevention equipment and also permission for staff to move about the district to provide essential medical services.
However, the government lock-down is having an impact on daily wage earners. Industries, trade, tourism, foreign employment and development works have all been stopped. The cost of goods transported by plane have increased so the poor and unemployed have found it difficult to eat properly. This leads to malnourishment and a greater risk of disease. Humla is a food deficient district anyway so any disruption in the food chain will create problems.
The government system would have found it very difficult to manage without the help and support of the Nepal Trust. Our staff were incorporated in to the system to boost trained manpower capacity. Funds were also handed over to help the government system struggling under national financial limitations.
Outwith the pandemic our clinics, under the control of SHIP have had to deal with normal everyday health issues. During the 3 months September to November they have dealt with 4269 cases successfully. In addition 1067 Covid cases were recorded of which 120 were put in to quaranteen. No deaths from Covid have been recorded.
These are very difficult times and I must thank our staff for their devotion to hard, and dangerous, work. Humla is beautiful but not for the faint hearted. It is remote and difficult to get around; virtually isolated from the outside world. Thank you for all your help and support which is much needed at this difficult time. Please help if you can and tell your friends. We need you all more than ever!
Our best wishes for the New Year and a sincere hope that it gets better soon. We all need a break!
Dear Friends and supporters
In Nepal the number of people infected with the Corona virus is still rising. The district we work in,Humla, is at the lower end of infections but at high risk due to the more heavily infected districts to the south and bordering India. We are working very hard with our local partner SHIP and the local District Health Officer to keep on top of the situation and curb its spread.
SHIP is distributing PPE and medicines to 8 district medical centres to keep Humla one of the safest districts but we are continually aware of the risks from adjoining districts and returning migrant workers desperate to get back to their home villages. We work closely with local government to ensure all restrictions and protocols are observed. Humla is a very remote district and economically one of the poorest; food deficient and access is difficult. The virus is not what they need on top of everything else they struggle with.
One of the factors that has helped to keep infection rates low in Humla is the result of our child health education programme Little Doctors which has improved overall health standards. There has been a very noticeable decrease in the incidence of stomach and respiritory health disorders. Little Doctors has been running for about 20 years and its students have taken their new knowledge back to their families.
Earlier this year one of our Belgium corporate partners, who source herbal ingredients from the Himalayas for their cosmetic products, made a visit to Humla to see for themselves the impact that Little Doctors is making on life in the Hidden Himalayas. Following is a report they made after their visit.
Humla is situated in the northern part of Nepal, close to the border with Tibet, that makes the trip towards it sort of exciting. We arrived at the Simikot airport in a tiny airplane. The airport resides at an elevation of 2,800m above sea level. And the runway is not very long to say the least. Result: you can still see two crashed airplanes next to the runway (fortunately there were no victims!).
But we don’t complain, because the best alternative to get there is to walk 8 days by foot through the mountains starting at the closest road. The remote location of Humla is a key decision why we as CÎME wanted to support a school project here. Humla is thought to be one of the poorest regions in the world. The people here are dependent on the import of rice to survive the freezing winters, the average life expectancy is about 58 years and an estimated 1 out of 3 children dies before their 12th birthday.
One of the key solutions to this problem is to invest in the education of the local population. That is exactly what the NGO Nepal Trust does with the ‘Little Doctors’ schooling project. In the framework of this project, school children in Humla between the age of 11 and 16-year-old are being taught on aspects such as hygiene, health, aid and nutrition. The young teens are being educated to be ‘Little Doctors’ that pass on their learned knowledge to family, friends and members of the community. For every CÎME product that goes over the counter, a part of the proceedings goes to the training of ‘Little Doctors’.
The ‘Little Doctors’ projects seems to be big fun! The Little Doctors as well as the teachers seem to be very enthusiastic about the program and how much impact it has on their daily life.
Student Sarita: “First, we received one month of theoretical classes and afterwards the practical lessons. Those are the most fun. Then we can assist in the Health Post (The Nepal Trust in Humla has built 7 healthcare facilities, where people can get first aid and healthcare). We are allowed to heal burned marks and dog bites and we also help with vaccination.”
Student Prakriti: “We all receive a first aid kit, with basic tools such as scissors, disinfectant, bandage and diarrhea medication. We are allowed to take this home with us, but we can also use these at school. We are called in when one of the other students gets hurt on the playground to take care of them.”
If we ask the students what they want to become when they grow up, the most popular answer is a doctor or a nurse. This does not come falling from the sky. Part of the staff in the only hospital of Humla has followed the Little Doctors project when they were young.
However not all students want to become doctors.
Student Tejendra: “I don’t want to become a doctor. I want to become a farmer and stay in this area.”
Jaya Bam, teacher in English and Vice-president of the school in Simikot: “For students like Tejendra, the Little Doctors program is also interesting. That’s what makes the project so beautiful. The information that they learn has the potential to improve the life circumstances of the students and their respective families because they learn practical information that is of important value for their state of health.”
We were very impressed by the work the Nepal Trust has done in this remote region and are proud to be able to contribute to this beautiful project.
The Nepal Trust hopes that providing health education to children and others in the local communities will improve life chances and build a healthy resilience in this hard and unremitting part of the world.
The Trust would like to thank you for all your support and help for this project but, as you can see, it is not easy now that Covid-19 has moved in! We will still need help and support to get us through these difficult times and to keep on track our objective to fully handover an effective and fully working health system. Please pass on our latest news to your friends and colleagues and encourage them to support us.
Thank you and Namaste
Dear friends and supporters
We hope you are all keeping well at this difficult time. Restrictions and lock-downs are a necessary part of life at the moment if we are to pull through safely.
Imagine the added difficulties of living in one of the remotest corners of the world with no easy access to frontline support. That is the reality of living in Humla in the far north west of Nepal bordering China/Tibet and officially the poorest district in Nepal. There are no roads to access services further south and air travel is limited and too expensive for the majority of inhabitants. However, these resileant people have survived centuries of dealing with disasters of all sorts and are doing so now with a remarkable spirit.They have embraced the government restrictions and are doing all they can to ensure their safety. But,they are surrounded by possible hazards and must be forever vigilant.
The government has set up a special fund - District Covid19 Prevention and Control Fund - to help support government clinics in each Rural Municipality (RM) to provide necessary medicines and equipment. The Nepal Trust contributed NRs 110000 and our implementation partner, Self Help Initiative Promotion Centre-Nepal (SHIP), NRs 55000.
SHIP, who manage our 5 clinics, have carried out a full survey and awareness programme providing all necessary medicines, materials and equipment. The exception is the clinic in the remote Limi valley because the high passes were still impassable but this will be rectified very soon as the trails open up. SHIP have also established Help Desks and Quarantine facilities at each site.
The Nepal government have managed very well to keep a cap on the overall infection rate and, as I write, there are only 120 infected people and no deaths in the whole country. This is quite remarkable given the country's location sandwiched between China and India. However, there is sufficient evidence to suggest more cases are arriving in the country as migrant workers return and attempt to get back to their home villages. This is the case as infection rates are increasing in the likes of Nepalgunj and Surkhet south of Humla. More severe travel lock-downs in these areas will have an enormous impact on travel to, and in, Humla.
The Chinese government have closed the border with Humla and stopped all cross boarder activity. This has already had a severe impact on the local economy. Cross border trade is a major economic lifeline for the villages of north Humla. Malnutrition and starvation are already becoming evident and expected to get worse. We are expecting requests for help as the situation gets worse.It is very important that we all remain very vigilant and help these fragile and remote communities to survive the pandemic.
We know that requests for help are everywhere and it is difficult to prioritise from limited resources but if you can help with a donation we would be very grateful. We expect the demands on our resources to increase as the pandemic takes a firmer hold. Please tell your friends and colleagues about the foregotten parts of the world like the 'Hidden Himalayas' and encourage them to support us.
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.
We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.
Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.Start a Fundraiser