3 year old girl with pneumonia Abkati is 3 years old and lives with her parents and three older siblings in Maila VDC, where PHASE Nepal has been working for over 9 years now. On the 1st of December, Abkati was brought to the PHASE supported health post in Maila by her mother, who was worried about her daughter: Abkati had been ill for 3 days and getting worse, and was even unable to drink water or walk on her own. When she was examined by the PHASE health workers, they found that she was underweight, weighing only 12 kg. Malnutrition is a serious problem in Humla, where many families grow only enough food for 3-4 months of the year and are dependent on subsidized rice for survival. Malnutrition affects children’s immune system, making them more susceptible to common infections and making it harder for them to recover from illness. (PHASE also supports local farmers to produce more vegetables and eggs, but this progamme has only been running for 2 years.) Abkati’s respiration rate and pulse rate were raised and she had a fever of 105 F, but her hands and feet were cold, suggesting that she was going into shock. Further examination showed chest indrawing and wheezing breath sounds. Abkati was suffering from severe Pneumonia. PHASE Nepal’s health workers, Sarita and Kalpana, immediately gave her an injection of Gentamycin (a broad spectrum antibiotic) along with Paracetamol to control the fever and Salbutamol to relieve the wheezing .
In view of her life threatening condition she was referred to Kolti Primary Healthcare Centre, as she really should be treated in a hospital: Kolti PHC is the nearest community hospital, but it is more than a day's walk from Maila. Abkati’s parents were unable to take her to the PHC, so the health workers gave her Amoxicillin (a second antibiotic) as well as Zinc and Vit A to boost her immune system. Her mother was advised to keep her warm and make sure she got plenty of warm liquids to drink. She was asked to bring the girl for follow up the next day, and when she returned, Abkati looked better. After continuing the treatment at home at follow up on the third day, there was a major improvement in her health. On the fifth day, Abkati came to the health post walking along with her mother! Her health had completely improved and no further medication was required. Her parents thanked PHASE Nepal health workers for saving the life of their daughter. From the period starting mid-September till mid-December, 114 patients visited the ORC in Maila of which 14 were children under the age of 5 years. Sarita /Kalpana
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