This year the Nepal Trust has completed 3 Little Doctor programs successfully in the villages of Simikot, Bargaun and Yalbang to teach young school children the basics of health, sanitation, hygiene, family planning, first aid and the like. The classes have produced another 66 Little Doctors who have obtained valuable knowledge on how to live a healthier life and who will share their lessons learned with other family, and community members.
Also in Bargaun the construction of our Birthing Center has started and on October 1st a group of Nepal Trust
supporters and volunteers will arrive at Bargaun after an adventurous 2-week trek from Jumla district all the way up to Bargaun village, to help with the construction of the center.
Both projects, as well as the Torpa clinic have been visited by Global Giving USA representatives, who were very impressed with the work of Nepal Trust, and how the projects make a true difference to the lives of the Himalayan communities.
The core health program itself is progressing well and new batches of medicines have been sent to the clinics. On
request of the community we have added a skilled Community Medical Assistant (CMA) to the Sarkegad clinic in South Humla. Sarkegad is rapidly growing into an economical and social hub in the area and provision of trained health workers and medication is vital for the health conditions of this growing population. The CMA is supporting the clinic and government health workers by treating patients and keeps records of daily activities.
Shari Davis and Ellen Currin are InTheField Travelers with GlobalGiving who are visiting our partners' projects throughout Nepal. Their "Postcard" from their most recent visit in Nepal:
A three-hour hike deep in the mountains of Northwest Nepal brought us to the remote village of Torpa, where we visited a health post supported by the Nepal Trust. One of the many projects supported through the organization, the health clinic was built to support the health needs of several remote villages. Unfortunately, the healthcare worker was out of the district to have her baby, and we were unable to speak with her about the population served by the clinic.
The next day, we hiked down the mountain to visit a school where the Little Doctors program is being implemented. “Little doctors” are students who have specialized health training provided by teachers and community health workers. During our visit, we took part in an assembly where one group of students who had completed the four months of training received their certificates and graduated from the program. We were also able to witness the new group of around 20 students begin their studies with learning symptoms and treatments of common infectious diseases. Sagar, a local employee of Nepal Trust, told us the program has been running for over 10 years and has produced over 250 “little doctors” in different communities around the impoverished district of Humla.
During our visit in the remote district of Humla, we were able to stay at the friendly Nepal Trust guesthouse and see projects they have started to further their impact at the community level. In the town of Simikot, we visited a government hospital and a private hospital, which had both received support from the organization in the past. We also saw the land purchased for a future micro-hydro project in the same town, as well as land for a birthing center to be built by a nearby village. The staff of Nepal Trust has been very welcoming and made us feel at home in this beautiful, remote area of Nepal!
There are only two ways to get to Simikot and the Hidden Himalayas; you can vigorously trek for over 10 days or you can fly there in a small aircraft. The good news is that the small mountain airstrip has been black topped. The flight in is just as scary but the landing is much smoother!
Winter has now passed in this remote part of the world and the Nepal Trust is pushing ahead with new developments to provide a sustainable and accessible primary health care service to the Buddhist and Hindu villagers. The Torpa clinic is now finished and fully functioning. The next stage of this development will be a Birthing Centre in the adjoining village of Bargaon but linked to Torpa. This centre will provide safe and skilled facilities and treatment for pregnant mothers to give birth. Sourcing funds is still a priority but it is hoped to start work on building the centre later this year. A new clinic and birthing centre is planned for 2013 at Muchu village in northern Humla. All clinics are provided with electricity through solar PV panels, clean water and washing facilities.
A 3-4 month supply of fresh medicines was distributed in January to all of our 5 clinics. Patient records for December show that 1205 females and 1240 males were registered for treatment including 158 children under the age of 5 years. Family planning advice and help was given to 365 families.
To avoid duplication of effort in this remote and logistically difficult region the Nepal Trust continues to work towards cooperation with other NGOs. The ISIS Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation working in Nepal and Uganda (http://www.isis.bm/). In Humla ISIS has teamed up with the Nepal Trust to help raise the standards and depth of health care delivered through our clinics at Yalbang and Kermi. We saw the first benefits of this collaboration in November/December 2011 with the organisation, funded by ISIS, of health camps at Kermi and Mahaboudha Secondary School in Yalbang. In total 727 patients attended the clinics to receive treatment. The intention is to set up a more formal and long term collaboration agreement that will see ISIS assisting the NT long term with the running costs of the two clinics
Winter has now descended on the villages of the Hidden Himalayas. Deep snow limits access to remote villages and the high passes are blocked to commercial and tourist travel. Flights in to Simikot are problematical depending on how well the short, dirt runway can be cleared. Nevertheless, our health clinic staff continue to provide a valuable service. Because they come from the villages they serve they have an urgent desire to help their community as best they can.
Our Little Doctors programme for 2011 is now completed and 66 young students from the villages of Kermi, Challa, Yalbang and Simikot have successfully graduated. They will now take the health knowledge and skills they have learned back to their families and friends and, hopefully, spread their knowledge. The LD programme is a unique and valuable way of spreading health education in one of the remotest regions on the planet.
The Nepal Trust is currently in discussion with two other aid organisations about collaboration and sharing resources in the health and education sector. This will avoid overlap and duplication and be more cost effective. Agreements and MoUs are being drawn up and should be in operation in early 2012.
An independent film company from Scotland, Recite Films, has donated time and effort to produce a documentary film about the work of the Trust. The film will be ready for publishing early 2012 and a link will be published in our next report.
The Nepal Trust and the people of the Hidden Himalayas would like to wish all our supporters, volunteers and friends a wonderful festive season and best wishes for 2012. We hope the year ahead will bring good health and fresh opportunities to the deprived communities of Humla.
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