In March 2013 we opened the first medical facility in the Kumari. The clinic provides basic health care, including medicine, simple lab work and the services of a Physician’s Assistant. However, we do not have a doctor, nurse, or mid-wife. If they should need to see a doctor, the district hospital, is a nine hour hike from the Kumari.
The medical mission of Health & Ed 4 Nepal is to promote and support self-sustaining medical facilities among the impoverished people of Nepal.
The Kumari is the southernmost VDC in the Nuwakot district of central Nepal. The people of the Kumari are primarily Tamang. The Tamang can trace their ancestry to Tibet. They have their own language, religion and culture. They constitute over 5% of the population of Nepal, roughly 1.25 million people. Generations of marginalization and discrimination have left the Tamang communities primitive and lacking basic necessities.
When we first visited the Kumari (2008) we found a community with no electricity, no road, no safe source of water, and no toilets. We saw a little boy crawling in the dirt with a severely infected finger. The doctor in our group was concerned for the boy’s life. We were able to get antibiotics, which are not available in the district, for the boy and he recovered.
I asked Dr Shyam Shrestha, the Medical Director at Helping Hands Nepal what these people needed most. His answer was: “EVERYTHING”
We started our work with Jagat Lama and his NGO – Health and Education for Nepal (HEN). In 2013 we opened “The Sukman Memorial Polyclinic” in the Kumari. The medical clinic serves 60,000 local people, most of whom have no access to western medicine. The clinic has a pharmacy, a lab, a birthing room, exam rooms and quarters for the staff.
We are very proud of the clinic but there is much work to be done:
- Start a “Mothers meeting room” where women of the Kumari can get instruction in basic nutrition, hygiene, and family planning
- Provide a medical staff to support the clinic. Staff to include a full time Physicians Assistant, Nurse/midwife, Lab Tech, Pharmacist, Administrator, and a part time Doctor.
- Establish a continuing education program to select promising local students to attain medical training to rotate and replace existing staff.
- Provide additional equipment and supplies to the clinic to include; x-ray, and sonogram.
- Provide Dental and Eye care for the people of the Nuwakot
- Continue to provide Health Camps bring western medicine to the Kumari, and introducing the Doctors and volunteers to the Kumari people
The work in Nepal for the people of the Kumari, had taken enormous strides. We have opened doors for the people that they never imagined. But we are not done. The objective has always been to create a “self-sustaining” facility in the Kumari. With the right kind of support the people of the Kumari will thrive and one day manage their own medical care. Until then we need to continue to support intelligent investments, in education, infrastructure, and medical services.
Randy Baker, President – Health
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