Inadequate healthcare facilities and services are a major problem in many areas in rural Nepal. People may have to walk for hours or even days to reach a health post only to find it unstaffed, low on essential medical supplies or otherwise unable to meet their needs. Emergency treatment, the need for surgery or other specialist help may necessitate travel to Kathmandu but this is not possible for the many who cannot afford the travel costs. Himalayan Initiatives have consulted and collaborated with communities in order to understand and address some of their healthcare challenges.
These efforts have resulted in a number of initiatives:
NELE HEALTH POST, LOWER SOLU KHUMBU
Solar panels have been installed which provide lighting for the Birthing Centre and power for a vaccination refrigerator (also provided). In addition funding has been made available to Nele Village Development Committee Emergency Fund to cover transport costs for villagers to access specialist medical help in Kathmandu and fund funeral expenses for families in need.
SIMIGAON HEALTH POST, DOLAKHA DISTRICT
Provision of wooden flooring, beds, vaccination refrigerator and other medical supplies. Community Medical Assistant training funded for local student Pemlhamu (Read Pemlhamu's story below).
Pemlhamu having completed her health worker training
The community in the Sherpa Village of Simigaon has a problem with absentee health workers. In Nepal, given the cultural, geographical and climatic diversity of the country it is not uncommon for Health workers to be posted to communities very different to their own, possibly speaking a different language and, in the mountain regions, experiencing much colder and harsher conditions than they are accustomed to. The resulting absenteeism is often unaddressed. While a local person may be a more committed health worker for the village opportunities for training are few given the poor standards of education provision locally and lack of finance. Himalayan Initiatives provided the necessary funds for the community in Simigaon to select a local student with the required school leaving certificate to undertake training as a community medical assistant (CMA) with a view to working in the village in future. Pemlhamu was selected and welcomed the opportunity. She ably completed the 15 month training at college in Banepa near Kathmandu in 2012. Since then she has worked in two hospitals in Kathmandu and is continuing to study (rural development) but has been unable to secure a Government Health Worker post in Simigaon despite her enthusiasm to do so. Meanwhile absenteeism remains a problem in Simigaon.