For such a beautiful, if very remote, part of the world the maternal and child health statistics are appalling in the 'Hidden Himalayas'. Technology is moving fast and computers and mobile phones can be used in Simikot and the small mountain airstrip has a blacktop making take-off and landing a little bit more comfortable. However, 40% of children die before they reach the age of 5 years and 8% of mothers die during labour. Much of this is down to long established beliefs and lack of education. The Nepal Trust is targetting these areas to make a difference. Our Little Doctors programme providing health education is an innovative and rewarding project that is beginning to make a difference. Over 250 young students have completed the 4 month course and have passed on their knowledge to their other family members. A course, for over 20 students, costs £1500 and is delivered through the local education system by health workers and their own teachers. Courses for 2013 are already subscribed and additional funding is required to deliver them. Can you help?
Our first, and the regions first, dedicated Birthing Centre in Bargaun is nearing completion and grant applications have been submitted for the next two centres to be built in Yari and Sarkegad. Mothers will no longer have to go outside or in to the cowshed to give birth. These facilities, staffed by Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANM), will provide a clean place with qualified personnel to ensure the birth is as comfortable and safe as possible. Your support for this very important initiative is very much appreciated.
We continue to improve the delivery of our health service and have recently appointed a new Health Manager who will oversee all of our clinics and services. Ratna Lamichhane is fully qualified to supervise and deliver all the work that we do particularly maternal healthcare.
The Nepal Trust has long taken an integrated approach to its overall work in Humla. Our view is that a healthy society is also a prosperous one and, to further this philosophy, we have developed renewable energy projects, cultural and heritage preservation and income generation projects. We are excited to announce a joint collaboration with the Swiss charity Norlha to develop an agricultural project. The project aim is to re-vitalize agriculture development and expand vegetable production and bee-keeping in the Humla area. Today tourism is a viable income source for families along the trek routes, where there is an increasing demand for vegetables and agriculture products. Additionally, since most of West Tibet is semi-desert with low agricultural productivity, the border markets offer trading potential for local farmers. This is just one of many projects designed to improve the livelihood and, therefore, the future health of these remote mountain communities.