Women practicing the tradition of 'Chhaupati'
Just to let you know a bit more about what your kind donation is funding in Nepal, and about an exciting opportunity…
Accessible either by helicopter or an arduous 8-day trek through the snowy Himalayas, Maila village is geographically, socially and economically isolated. There is little infrastructure, few services, and the community depends on rice delivered by the World Food Programme. PHASE healthworkers there find the lifestyle challenging, but extremely rewarding.
‘The people of Maila are some of the most helpful, loving and kind people I know’ says Deepa Pathak. ‘It makes it a delight to work in their community’.
Being so isolated, many traditions that exist are not practiced elsewhere. ‘Chhaupadi’ dictates that menstruating women and those about to give birth should stay far from their families, in cold, unfurnished buffalo sheds. As well as doing all their cooking and washing themselves, they also deliver their babies unaided; hence the rate of maternal and infant mortality in Humla is extremely high.
The presence of PHASE healthworkers in Maila is helping to change things.
Our staff have been raising awareness about the dangers of unattended delivery, and women are becoming more empowered to move against traditional taboos. The healthworkers now attend 10-15 births a month.
‘The idea of antenatal care is new for Maila, but more and more mothers are coming to us for check-ups,’ says PHASE staff Phelu Jiral. ‘Whenever we identify abnormalities we convince the family of the importance of taking the mother to the District Hospital for delivery. The District Hospital is 4 days walk away – if complications are only identified during labour then the mother has no chance.’
Increasing amounts of people are using health services, with staff seeing 40-50 patients a day. Many walk for hours - Jankali Budha, 30, suffered from an obstructed labour, and was carried for 3 hours on a stretcher by her neighbours and husband from the village of Madana. When she arrived she had lost the baby and her life was in danger. PHASE health staff (under careful guidance from doctors in the UK contacted by phone!) brought her out of danger and provided her with counseling about the loss of her baby.
The healthpost in Maila is an essential service, and thanks to your kind support we have raised $8000 towards keeping the service open through 2012.
Life in Humla is going to become even more challenging next year, meaning the work of PHASE will be even more critical. The World Food Programme plan to withdraw food aid support that the community has depended on for the last decade. PHASE is coordinating a response to the impending humanitarian crisis and will be sure to keep you updated.
We have only raised one quarter of the money we need to fund the health service in Maila during 2012, but an interesting opportunity is coming up!
Next Wednesday, 15th June, Global Giving is match funding all donations made to this project by 30%!! This means that your donation will be worth more!
We know that all of you have already shown huge generosity towards and solidarity with the community of Maila, but if you could publicize our project on this day, convince your friends and family to donate, or post this in your Facebook status, your support will be gratefully received!
With love and thanks
PHASE Nepal and the people of Maila
Mother with new born baby in cowshed
Woman with healthy baby, Maila