Himalayan HealthCare's Earthquake Relief Fund

by Himalayan Healthcare
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Himalayan HealthCare's Earthquake Relief Fund
Himalayan HealthCare's Earthquake Relief Fund
Himalayan HealthCare's Earthquake Relief Fund
Children in the villages served by HHC
Children in the villages served by HHC

For more than two years, Himalayan HealthCare has been providing earthquake relief and recovery services to the people of Nepal’s Dhading District. From initial provision of food, clean water, medicines and emergency medical care to the replacement of livestock and reconstruction of schools and health clinics, Himalayan HealthCare, with your support, has been able to serve nearly half a million individuals in villages close to the earthquake’s epicenter.

Earlier this year, we handed over a completed health post in Chhatredeurali to the District Health Officer. The health post was repaired and retrofitted as part of our ongoing collaboration with AmeriCares, under which we are repairing and reconstructing eight health clinics and the Dhading District Hospital, ensuring the structures are more resilient and built to higher standards than they were prior to the earthquake.

We’ve also secured political approvals and laid the groundwork for the other health clinics and our Lapa secondary school, supported by Brother’s Brother Foundation. Our construction teams are working quickly to install electricity and sanitation systems and get the metal roofs in place before the start of monsoon season. The road to recovery is a long one, and we plan to stay on it until the needs of our communities are fully met.

In addition to our earthquake recovery programs, Himalayan HealthCare has continued with our core health, education and income-generation programs, and we hosted our Spring 2017 medical trek to the remote mountain villages of Shertung and Lapa. Over the course of the 12-day trek, 834 patients, including 170 children under the age of five, were treated in two medical camps.

In our GlobalGiving report about the trek, we talked about a young woman named Melina, who is currently receiving a scholarship from Himalayan HealthCare. We wanted to also share her story with you:

"My parents both work in the fields. My father used to earn money from a foreign country, but now he is old. My mom makes some money from selling buffalo milk and Ghee butter. With that money, we buy our notebooks and pencils for school.

Because of poverty, everyone's health is poor. My father has a blood problem. My mother has a problem in her ovaries and my sister has a breathing problem. My younger brother cries whenever he goes to the bathroom. I am also sick. I have a skin disease.

I don't know why everyone in our family has diseases, but my parents love us all. They sold their buffalo and borrowed money and took us to different expensive hospitals. After 4 years, I am still not completely well."

Melina and her family’s home was destroyed in the earthquake, which caused such extensive damage to the villages where we work that many families are still unable to return home two years later.

With your help, we’ve been able to continue bringing much-needed medical care to these villages and equipping a new generation of health workers with the skills and education needed to ensure that their fellow villagers live healthier and happier lives.

When asked about her future plans now that she is supported by an HHC scholarship, Melina told us:

"I feel fortunate because I got this chance from Himalayan HealthCare. Otherwise my family wouldn’t be able to send me to school. My ambition is to take a higher level of science and become a doctor… If I cannot become a doctor, I will become a teacher. I will give health information in the villages and increase consciousness of health… I don't want other families to be sick like mine."

We thank you once again for your generosity and invite you to learn more about the ongoing needs in Nepal and how you can be involved by writing to christina@himalayanhealthcare.org.

HHC lays the foundation for the district hospital
HHC lays the foundation for the district hospital
Work underway on the Dhading District Hospital
Work underway on the Dhading District Hospital
A retrofitted health post in Dhading District
A retrofitted health post in Dhading District
Handover of health post to District Health Office
Handover of health post to District Health Office

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A young patient is treated at an HHC medical camp
A young patient is treated at an HHC medical camp

This February, Himalayan HealthCare (HHC), in collaboration with AmeriCares, handed over the completed Chhatredeurali health post to the District Health Office in Nepal's Dhading District.

Following the devastating 2015 earthquakes, HHC and AmeriCares have been collaborating on the repair and reconstruction of eight health posts in rural Nepal, including Chhatredeurali, and the Dhading District Hospital. The structures are being retrofitted to make them more resistant to seismic activity and to minimize the risk of injury in case of future earthquakes.

The Chhatredeurali health post will serve a population of 7,690 people. The handover ceremony in February follows the completion of the Bhumisthan Health Post in 2016.

In addition to our earthquake relief and recovery work, HHC has continued with our core health programs, including several health clinics carried out in Northern Dhading and Ilam.

In December, in Ilam, HHC conducted a medical camp at the Shree Ambar Higher Secondary School for children with mental disabilities. A total of 67 students were treated from area schools, including 17 mentally disabled youth between the ages of 11 and 22.

HHC conducted educational workshops with the students and caregivers about personal hygiene, safety during recreational activities, first aid and overall health awareness. All patients were given a general check-up and HHC treated several upper-respiratory tract infections, musculoskeletal pain and a self-inflicted lacerated wound.

The following medicines were provided free of charge by the Ilam District Hospital: Syrup Cefpodoxime; Syrup Cetrizine; Syrup Cifixime; Syrup Ibuprofen and Paracetamol; Syrup Ampicillin and Cloxacillin; Ointment Polysporin; Doclofenac Gel; ear drops and eye drops; Tab. Ciprofloxacin; GammaBHC; Betadine solution and AlMgOH.

In January, also in Ilam, HHC treated 109 patients in a free medical camp coinciding with an annual festival called Maibeni Mela. The timing took advantage of the fact that community members had already travelled long distances to Ilam to participate in the festival celebrations.

In November, in Northern Dhading, HHC treated 590 patients, including 73 children, at its Borang Eye Camp in Shertung. More than 200 of these patients were treated for cataracts.

HHC was assisted by over 50 local volunteers who went door-to-door helping HHC to identify patients in need of care, and helping to get the patients—many of whom were elderly—to Borang. With no road access, many of these patients had to be carried for more than a day to reach the HHC medical camp.

In addition to cataracts, HHC treated patients for more than a dozen complaints, including presbyopia (farsightedness), corneal opacity, conjunctivitis, ocular allergies and corneal ulcers.

The local community supported the patients by providing blankets, hot water and care for patients.

HHC is grateful for the team of Nepali doctors, health providers and volunteers who came together to assist our village supervisors, field coordinators and other local staff in helping us to treat nearly 800 patients who otherwise would not have had access to medical assistance.

We are also grateful to AmeriCares for supporting the reconstruction and repair of Dhading District's health clinics, and for the Chhatredeurali health post management committee, representatives of local political parties, television reporters, health providers, volunteers and local community members who came out to support the handover of the health post.

Finally, we are grateful to our donors like you who have helped us to bring life-saving healthcare to hundreds of thousands of people in rural Nepal since 1992. 

Thank you for your support, 

Christina

Chhatredeurali health post before and after
Chhatredeurali health post before and after
Handover Ceremony for Chhatredeurali Health Post
Handover Ceremony for Chhatredeurali Health Post
Patients after treatment at an HHC medical camp
Patients after treatment at an HHC medical camp
A patient being treated at an HHC medical camp
A patient being treated at an HHC medical camp
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Empowerment through education and skills training
Empowerment through education and skills training

Namaste friends,

2016 has been a very trying but also a very productive year for the people we serve in the remote mountain villages of Tipling, Shertung, Lapa, Jharlang and Ree in Nepal’s Northern Dhading District. 

As you are aware, the devastation caused by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in April 2015 affected millions of people in Nepal. More than 8,000 people lost their lives and hundreds of thousands lost homes, schools, livestock and the means to live. 

The trauma of the quake and its hundreds of aftershocks still haunts me and my family, but the generosity and compassion of each of you is far beyond and bigger than that. I want to thank you for helping us help the people we love and serve in my country. 

I want to share with you one story in particular of a young woman from the village of Ree named Mamita whose education is currently being sponsored by Himalayan HealthCare (HHC):

I am the first born of my parents. There are 7 people in our family, including grandparents. No one had been educated in our family before… and I couldn’t go to school in the beginning of my life. My childhood was spent looking after goats. 

When I was 8 or 9 years old, my parents saw other kids going to school, and they put me into a school called Pasang Chowki… I am the first literate member of the family.

After the earthquake, our home was destroyed. There was no safe place to hide from the rain or the sun. There was rubble everywhere. We didn’t know where to live or what to eat… Whatever we’d had in our home was buried in rubble.

Then the HHC scholarship results came in, and I got a chance to study science. I had decided to pursue this topic because there was a shortage of science teachers in the villages so I wanted to study science and return to my village to teach.

Because of my economic condition, HHC offered to support me in my studies and I was very happy to hear it. I’ll finish my science studies and will go to my village and help, and will give education to those who need it. I want to thank from my heart HHC for giving me a chance to fulfill my wish to study science.

Stories like Mamita’s are all too common in Northern Dhading, where the everyday struggles of living in poverty were compounded by the devastation of the earthquake. 

We are grateful to have had the opportunity, thanks to donors like you, to not only provide shelter, food, clean water, medical relief and other long-term support to families like Mamita’s, but to continue our support of promising students and health workers dedicated to improving quality of life in their villages. 

During the 2015-16 academic year, HHC has sponsored 14 students, providing comprehensive support for technical and other studies. This continues an HHC tradition since 1992, under which we have supported students, which particular emphasis on ethnic minorities, as health assistants, auxiliary health workers, nurse midwives, hospital managers, teachers, doctors, nurses, veterinary technicians and more. And it is a tradition we are committed to continuing. 

Our work is only possible because of the incredible generosity and outpouring of kindness from donors like you, many of whom have accompanied us on medical treks to the villages and seen the impact of our work firsthand, and many of you whom we’ve never met who nonetheless have stepped up to help us out of pure compassion for fellow human beings in duress. I cannot tell you how this has touched me and changed me in so many ways. 

Your kindness and blessings have saved hundreds of lives and continue to serve those who are deeply in need.

Thank you from Nepal and happy holidays to you and your loved ones,

Anil Parajuli

Mamita arrives in Kathmandu for her studies
Mamita arrives in Kathmandu for her studies
Students supported by Himalayan HealthCare
Students supported by Himalayan HealthCare

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HHC health staff, Phedorje, works with Chitra
HHC health staff, Phedorje, works with Chitra

Himalayan HealthCare's construction supervisor returned from Nepal's Ilam District last month where our community hospital has been undergoing repairs for damage caused by last year's earthquake. Cracks in the roof are being repaired, the foundation and retaining walls are being reinforced and the building overall is being made more earthquake resistant. 

Himalayan HealthCare's presence in Ilam is extremely important to the surrounding villages who, prior to our involvement in the region, had only one doctor to serve the entire population of 250,000. Stories like Chitra's reinforce how meaningful our community hospital and medical camps have been.

Sixteen years ago, Chitra was brought to Himalayan HealthCare's Mabu Village Medical Camp in Ilam, carried in a makeshift stretcher led by his grandmother. He was 13 years old, cadaverous and in agony with every movement. His joints, especially his knees, were inflamed and had ballooned, making walking impossible. He was immediately assessed by the Himalayan HealthCare team, given a provisional diagnosis of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and put on medications including steroids. 

This was the first chance Chitra had to seek medical care for his condition. Although the medical team believed Chitra probably would not live, given the state he was in, Chitra's condition improved significantly in just a few days after arriving at the Himalayan HealthCare medical camp. 

Chitra stayed with the Himalayan HealthCare medical team for the duration of the medical trek in Ilam. He was carried in the stretcher through the Ilam hills and brought to Kathmandu for a better assessment, where a diagnosis of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis was confirmed. Thus began a long and arduous treatment.

Once Chitra was stable and released from the hospital, Himalayan HealthCare was in a quandary. Chitra's mother had passed away and his only remaining family--a frail grandmother and uncle with little means who had looked after him faithfully for years--were in no position to care for someone with his physical needs. Sending Chitra back to Ilam would be sending him back to die. 

Himalayan HealthCare made the decision to help look after Chitra long-term. Our founder, Anil, located an orphanage, St. Xavier's Social Service Center, close to the Himalayan HealthCare office in Kathmandu where Chitra could stay and where his progress could be regularly monitored. Chitra continued to live here for the next fifteen years. 

During Chitra's first year in Kathmandu, the late Som Raj, Himalayan HealthCare health staff, worked as Chitra's physical therapist and through these long, intense sessions Chitra progressed from being bedridden to being able to sit in a wheelchair. The orphanage, with Himalayan HealthCare's support, then sent Chitra to school. 

After a year of attending classes, it became evident that Chitra's condition, which, with his growing body, made for increased joint and postural deformities and discomfort, made it difficult for Chitra to regularly attend classes. The powerful immunosuppressant medications also made him prone to other deadly diseases, not to mention side effects. 

As the years progressed, however, both the medications and the medical services in Kathmandu improved. A rheumatologist began helping Himalayan HealthCare with Chitra's care and although he would often be quite ill for extended periods at a time, he managed high spirits and did his best, through vocational training, to become more independent.

Finding a vocational center that could help individuals with debilitating deformaties who needed a regular chaperone and were often ill was not an easy task. Under our own vocational training programs, Himalayan HealthCare tried Chitra at tailoring, which he enjoyed, but his hands and feet were too deformed to operate a sewing machine and he unfortunately had to give this up after a few months. Finally, he began working with Himalayan HealthCare's artisanal crafts line, JeevanKala. 

Chitra worked diligently, traveling 15 minutes every working day to the Himalayan HealthCare office to do his utmost, weaving recycled snack wrappers into colorful bowls and baskets. He received a small salary and stipend for his work. 

After much research and a visit to a hospital in New Delhi, Himalayan HealthCare's founder, Anil, had the chance to meet with severely physically challenged patients who were helped to walk after decades of incapacity by a local surgeon. This gave Himalayan HealthCare greater hope for Chitra's condition. In 2013, Chitra traveled with his aide to New Delhi and underwent two twelve-hour surgeries. The first replaced his left knee and hip; the next his right knee and hip. The surgeries, totaling $10,000, were funded by a generous donation from the Jean-Abraham Py Memorial Foundation. 

Due to his disease and years of disuse, Chitra's bones were brittle and his muscles atrophied, but he was able--for short periods--to stand on his legs and, with continued physical therapy, to move more freely with a walker. Chitra then underwent a third surgery, spinal osteotomy, to straighten his spine so that he could look straight ahead while walking. 

After his long struggle with this severely crippling arthritic disease and with Himalayan HealthCare's long-term support, Chitra went from a bed to a wheelchair to now being able to walk on his own using crutches. He restarted school after his multiple surgeries and recovery last year. 

This past April, Chitra sat for the national level 10th Grade School Leaving Certificate exams, which he passed with flying colors. He began 11th grade at Patan High School and will be restarting his training in tailoring with Himalayan HealthCare's support. He will continue to live at St. Xavier's at least until he finishes 12th grade. 

Stories like Chitra's are only possible with the dedication of Himalayan HealthCare's staff and international medical volunteers, as well as the generous support provided by donors like you. We thank you for helping us keep our community hospital going and for allowing Himalayan HealthCare to continue supporting so many other stories of hope. 

Sincerely, 
Rob

Dr. Robert McKersie
President, Himalayan HealthCare

Repairing HHC's community hospital in Ilam
Repairing HHC's community hospital in Ilam
Chitra working on JeevanKala crafts
Chitra working on JeevanKala crafts
Chitra recovering from multiple surgeries
Chitra recovering from multiple surgeries
Chitra walks on his own with crutches
Chitra walks on his own with crutches
HHC's Community Hospital in Ilam
HHC's Community Hospital in Ilam

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HHC staff and volunteers treat a mother-to-be
HHC staff and volunteers treat a mother-to-be

Himalayan HealthCare (HHC) has been providing primary healthcare, essential medicines, training of health workers and other health and education services to Nepal's remote villages for nearly 25 years. 

Statistics can tell you the impact HHC has had in northern Dhading District: in 1993, prior to our work in the area, the Under-Five Child Mortality Rate was 225 per 1,000 live births. By 2012, it had been reduced to 33 per 1,000 in Tipling, 39 per 1,000 in Shertung and 32 per 1,000 in Lapa--well below Nepal's national average.

With over two decades of work in these remote communities--some of which are a three-day walk from the nearest road--we have more to go on than statistics. When we spoke to one of our current scholarship students, Melina Tamang of Shertung, she told us:

There are a lot of other organizations like HHC, but they are not able to reach remote villages like this one. HHC started working in Tipling by opening a health post and providing services. They opened more in Shertung, Lapa and other places. I go to those health posts for treatment. In different villages, they started to provide efficient cooking stoves and latrines... If there were more organizations like HHC, Nepal will develop forward.

When asked about her motivation for higher studies in the medical field, Kumari BK, another scholarship student, replied:

When I went to HHC's village health posts when I was younger and saw people helping me, I dreamed of becoming like them... I am now studying to be a lab assistant, an opportunity provided by an HHC scholarship. I am sure I will complete my studies and serve the poor, and go and work in places where HHC asks me to.

Stories like these reinforce the devastating impact of last year's earthquake, which destroyed or damaged health posts throughout northern Dhading, along with the region's schools, homes and other structures. We are grateful to be collaborating with AmeriCares to repair and reconstruct 8 village health posts and upgrade the Dhading District Hospital.

With no road access and at altitudes of nearly 14,000 feet, this is no small feat. Our staff has been hard at work across Dhading District, clearing debris, gathering and transporting materials, preparing the site grounds and laying the foundations for permanent health posts. 

Stone boulders from the hills of the Himalayas must be broken down for use in the foundation and walls of the health posts, and all building materials, including the stones, metal posts, trusses for roofing and other materials, must be carried to the construction site on foot. Volunteers from the local communities will be assisting with transportation of construction materials, while mules are bring used to carry in sand.

Soil must be prepped for the foundation, concrete must be mixed and slabs fitted into the ground where metal posts will then be installed. Next will come the addition of the siding and trusses for the roof. We hope most of the work can be completed before the heavy rains of monsoon season begin. 

In Bhumisthan, HHC has completed seismic strengthening and repair work on a health post and the completed building was handed over to the Health Post Committee earlier this month. Representatives of HHC, AmeriCares and the Dhading District Health Office attended the handover process.  

We are grateful to AmeriCares for supporting Himalayan HealthCare's ongoing repair and reconstruction work on Nepal's health posts, and to all of our donors who have supported us through a difficult year. 

We thank you for your support.

Christina

Boulders are broken for use in laying foundation
Boulders are broken for use in laying foundation
Building materials carried on foot to Tipling
Building materials carried on foot to Tipling
Batching of cement for Tipling health post
Batching of cement for Tipling health post
Installing metal posts for for Tipling health post
Installing metal posts for for Tipling health post
Handover of completed Bhumisthan health post
Handover of completed Bhumisthan health post
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Organization Information

Himalayan Healthcare

Location: New York, NY - USA
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Project Leader:
Soni Parajuli
New York, NY United States

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