Category Archives: AHCN

AHCN #10 – Bhattechaur and Sisne Views

After a 14 hour walk we had finally arrived in Bhattechaur, the furthest village we would reach.

Before we would proceed to conduct our first health camp in the village, we went to an incredible view point from which we could see the Southern end of the Dhaulagiri mountain range, namely Sisne peak of 5911 metres, the highest point of Rukum.

This gallery contains photos of mountain side villages, the people of Bhattechaur and the mountain views. The gallery is one of my favourites; it really shows the true beauty of Nepal.

AHCN #9 – 14 hours Incredible Walk

After reaching Rukum on impossible roads, meeting with the Local Development Officer, visiting the Salle Bajjar/Musikot District Hospital where we experienced the harsh reality for the patients of Rukum, buying medication and receiving donations at the Chitwan Medical College Teaching Hospital we were finally ready to start are trek towards Sisne. On our trip this far we had seen amazing sceneries, however the best was still to come, as you can see in the gallery below.

One of our initial goals with AHCN was to reach an area that was as rural as possible, where we would document the health care situation. Rukum is not a frequently visited are by tourists and in effect it was virtually impossible to find out how long it would take to reach a given village prior to our departure. Due to a limited budget we only had one day to walk and we wanted to reach all the way to Sisne. While we did not manage to reach Sisne village it self (at the foot of Sisne peak), we did reach the village of Bhattechaur, which is located in the Sisne Village Development Committee region.

We suspected on the way, that we would have a long walk ahead of us. The locals had told that Bhattechaur took a full day to reach. We quickly found out however, that a distance which would take a local a day too reach may very well take two days for a city folks. Finally we ended up walking 14 hours to reach our goal before we, with soar feet and aching legs, reached Bhattechaur and had the best portion of traditional Nepali food in our lives.

The Harsh Reality for the People of Rural Nepal

The featured image above is a labour bed. This is where mothers of the region give birth – if they go to the hospital at all.

At Access Health Care Nepal we believe that health care is a human right: Everyone has the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, which includes access to all medical services, sanitation, adequate food, decent housing, healthy working conditions, and a clean environment.

After seeing the current state of the Salle Bajjar District Hospital however, we had to conclude, that if one of us was a patient in this region, we would avoid all contact with its health care system if possible at all. Looking through this gallery speaks for it self. You don’t have to ask yourself whether or not you would like to be admitted here to know the answer. This is the largest public hospital in Rukum and the condition of it is devastating for the people.

After an initial meeting with the doctors of the hospital we were given a tour of the hospital. A quick inventory (made during the tour) showed that more than 66% of the equipment is out of order – and we were not counting the piles of broken equipment in the storeroom as the storekeeper was on leave.

The hospital has 15 beds and an occupancy rate at all time of at least 150% – and 200-300% is not uncommon. The hospital has no biomedical engineering staff and in consequence they have no preventive maintenance program. If something breaks, a request for new equipment is made to the government. Whether the request is met or not is completely unpredictable.

During the Maoist insurgency Doctors Without Borders were active in the region and the hospital was quite well off. However, since activity of the Maoists came to an end around 2011, the activity of Doctors Without Borders did the same, and today the hospital has become completely neglected.

At a hospital like Salle Bajjar District Hospital, the presence of Access Health Care Nepal as well as Engineering World Health would not only be helpful, but would be a part of fulfilling every individual’s fundamental human right to health care.

A central aim of for Access Health Care Nepal is to create awareness of the health care circumstances in rural Nepal. You can help us by sharing this article.

AHCN #8 – Meeting with the Local Development Officer of Rukum

Before proceeding to Rukumkot, we had a meeting with Mr. Bharat Sharma, the Local Development Officer of Rukum, to talk about the health care needs of the district, and about and how AHCN and possibly also EWH could help the region. We agreed with Mr. Bharat Sharma to arrange a visit to the Salle Bajjar District Hospital that very same day (post about the visit coming up tomorrow). Furthermore Mr. Bharat Sharma ensured that it would be possible to bring EWH volunteers to the region and we agreed to collaborate in phase 2 and 3 of the AHCN effort in Rukum.

AHCN #7 Musikot

Musikot (in the same area as Jumlikhalanga and Salle Bajjar) is the administrative centre of Rukum. Dr. Justin of our team lived here while still a child, before moving to Kathmandu. During our visit we stayed at their beautiful traditional Nepali house, where Justins grandmother still lives.

During our stay we also met Mr. Chandra Bahadur Malla, a teacher from Rukumkot, who would be our guide on the way to Sisne and back the following 3 days.

AHCN # 6 Reaching Rukum on Impossible Roads.

On the third day of our trip we would emerge from the flat Terai region in south into the mountains and on the fourth we would have to drive on roads so poor, that it took us 8 hours to drive 35 kilometres.

At times the road would be too narrow for two vehicles and either one or the other would have to back up several hundred meters to find a spot with sufficient room to pass. Seeing people sitting on the top of busses and jeeps in this setting plainly seemed extremely dangerous.

Mountain side terrace-farms were everywhere on the way. We came across numerous small villages and we met many local people. We came across some view points as well and several times Sisne, the tallest peak in Rukum of 5916 metres, would reveal it self in the north. At one of the viewpoints we were lucky to catch an absolutely beautiful sunset over the peak.

We reached Rukumkot, the last location in Rukum that can be reached by car, in the dark at about 9 pm. We received a warm welcome in the village where we stayed with relatives of Dr. Justin Jung Malla.

AHCN in Rukum #4 – Getting there and Team Profiles

As some of you may have read, the current AHCN effort in Nepal is comprised of three phases:  1) documenting the health care needs of rural Nepal, 2) conducting rigorous in-field medical, biomedical engineering and public health research 3) providing sustainable solutions for rural health care services and financing hereof in regions of interest.

Of these, our project in Rukum makes up the first phase. In the following days we will post about from our work in Rukum. This first post is a collection of photos of getting from Kathmandu to Rukum. This took three days as we had several stops on the way: the first day we visited Chitwan Medical College Teaching Hospital and agreed to collaborate in this project and in the future. The second day we visited the Nepal Youth Foundation nutrition centre in Dang and that night we would arrive in Musikot/Jumlikhalanga, the administrative centre of Rukum.

Before we start writing about our actual work, we wish to present out team. Hereby short profiles on each member of the in-field team that conducted phase one of our project:
Dr. Justin Jung Malla, M.B.B.S, Licensed Doctor: N.M.C no. 11941. Position at AHCN: Founder and Field Clinical Expert.
Experience:

  • Emergency Dept. Besi Sahar Hospital, Lamjung, Nepal (6 months)
  • Emergency Dept. Chitwan Medical College Teaching Hospital, Chitwan Nepal (6 months)
  • Emergency Dept. Norvic International Hospital Nepal (14 months)

Dr. Saujan Shrestha (M.B.B.S),  Licensed Doctor: N.M.C-no.12162. Position at AHCN: Field Clinical Expert.

Experience:

  • Chitwan Medical College Teaching Hospital, Emergency Department , Chitwan, Nepal (6 months)
  • Neuro Cardio Multi-speciality Hospital, Biratnagar, Nepal (6 months)
  • Emergency dept. and General medicine dept., Biratnagar Hospital Pvt. Ltd. Biratnagar, Nepal (14 months)

Mr. Rajkumar Silwal, MBA graduate from University of West London with great enthusiasm to support and improve health care in rural Nepal. Good management skills with a combination of leadership, communication, strategic planning and effective decision-making attributes. Experienced semi-professional photographer.
Position at AHCN: Director of Finance and Administration. Photographer. 

Mr. David Kovacs, B.Sc of Biomedical Engineering from the Technical University of Denmark and University of Copenhagen. Position at AHCN: Founder and President. 

Experience:

  • President of Engineering World Health at the Technical University of Denmark (10 months)
  • DUKE-EWH Summer Institute in Tanzania 2014 participant (2 months)
  • Volunteer at Chitwan Medical College Teaching Hospital (4 months)
  • Research Assistant at Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen University Hospital (12 months)
  • Accepted as On the Ground Assistant at EWH Gutatemala Winter Institute 2014/2015 (to be 1 month)

The following gallery is a collection of pictures of our team on our way to Rukum.

The mission of AHCN

“Access Health Care Nepal mobilises national and international medical practitioners, biomedical engineers and other health care workers to provide research for development in rural areas of Nepal. The current AHCN effort is established in three phases: 1) documenting the health care needs of rural Nepal, 2) conducting rigorous in-field medical, biomedical engineering and public health research 3) providing sustainable solutions for rural health care services and financing hereof in regions of interest.”

Collaboration with AMDA and Red Cross Nepal

Access Health Care Nepal is very excited about our collaboration with AMDA (Association of Medical Doctors) Nepal.  AMDA is an collection of 33 doctors and runs three hospitals, as well as several other programs and projects in collaboration with other organizations.  AMDA is located mostly in the eastern regions of the country, and has committed to supporting AHCN as we target Rukum district in western Nepal.

AMDA has supplied our health camp with medication donations so that we can conduct general health check ups.  After supplying basic medical care and treatment, we will test for HIV since migrant families are at high risk of contracting STIs in northern India.

Our team left Jumlakhalanga today and will be continuing on foot.  They had great meetings with district officers in Jumlakhalanga to discuss the health care needs in Rukum and the potential for biomedical engineering assistance through partnerships with Engineering World Health. They will most likely not have access to the Internet until they return next week, so we will continue to update as best we can until the end of the health camp.

Please continue to share our story and encourage people to support our cause.  Our goal is to have finished our fundraising campaign by the time the health camp is over. Thank you for your continued support.

http://www.gofundme.com/g1mdns

Meetings in Jumlakhalanga

Traveling to Rukum: Nepal Youth Foundation

Today we will arrive in Rukum, traveling through Lamahi, Ghori, Tulsipur, Shitalpati, and Kotmola before reaching our destination of Jumlikhalanga.  Here we we will visit the local district hospital to identify areas of need.  Our meetings with the NRC and the district officer Mr. Bharat will help us understand more about the infrastructure in the region and determine where we can travel to and how we can get there.

On our way to Jumlikhalanga, we visited the Nepali Youth Foundation (NYF) nutrition center in Ghorani.  The center admits malnourished children and their mothers for free for periods of around three months while the children are nurtured back to health.  During this time, the mothers are educated on how to cook inexpensive but nourishing food.

During our trip, we will work with the NYF to identify malnourished children, who will then be transported to the center with their mothers free of charge.