A home visit.
It has been a particularly long hard winter with heavy snowfalls blocking the high passes and trails. Life goes on albeit with limited manoeuvreability. The clinics continue to function and the two new Birthing Centres at Bargaun and Sarkegad will soon be fully functioning and helping to reduce the very high infant mortality rates in this remote corner of the world. A third Birthing Centre at Yari has a funding shortfall and can only start once the gap is filled. A summary of clinic records can be found at the bottom of this report. As always, the principal health problems are mainly intestinal, respitory and skin disorders normally as the result of poor hygiene. This is where our Little Doctors programme is making a difference by teaching young schoolchildren the elements of good health which they are then encouraged to pass on to other members of their families.
At this point it is worth considering the role of health care in these isolated and remote areas. There is little doubt that focusing on health is very important and saves lives but by itself and without sustainable economic development the future will remain bleak and lead to increased migration away to better economic opportunities. That is why the Nepal Trust operates in a fully integrated way to create opportunities for an economically better lifestyle. In partnership with our health initiatives we have focussed on renewable clean energy by building a number of hydro electric schemes and solar energy schemes. These together with energy efficient cooking stoves also help to reduce respitory diseases caused by oily lamps and smoky fires. We have, so far, improved living conditions for over 10000 people and 1500 households. Our new RE Service Centre is providing a support service and skilled job opportunities for local people.
As old economic systems collapse new ones have to be created to retain and support the population. Income generation is, therefore, very important. For a number of years the Nepal Trust has been helping to develop and support the Great Himalayan Trail (GHT), now one of the great trekking trails of the world, to bring tourism to this previously unknown corner of Nepal. The impact is huge as new lodges, guesthouses and campsites pop up. We continue to support this exciting initiative through a major project to help small farmers learn new methods and develop fresh ideas for agricultural production to meet the new demands of increased tourism.
There is little doubt that heritage and culture help to bind a society and keep it together. The rich history and culture of north west Nepal - the Hidden Himalayas - is unique and of major importance. The Trust has supported it in many ways. The rebuilding of Raling Gompa, so important to Buddhists and Hindus. The renovation of Halji Gompa in the beautiful Limi valley - probably the oldest gompa in Nepal and the renovation of the gompa at Muchu on the main trekking trail to holy Mount Kailash in Tibet. A healthy mind and soul helps towards a healthier lifestyle.
These are some examples of how the Trust is helping the local people to develop economically and eventually support themselves in a new and vibrant society. A new road is slowly creeping down from Tibet and will, no doubt, have a major impact but it will be many years yet before completion. Meanwhile as our project title says, we create new opportunities to help raise living standards. It is no great benefit to make someone better if they have no money to purchase a bar of soap and so the cycle starts over again!
Health Worker ANM Jaya DeviAttachments: