The Community Health Department (CHD) is a separate department of the United Mission Hospital, which is working towards building community awareness and empowerment, strengthening local health facilities and facilitators in the community, and strengthening those involved in the provision of health services. The CHD was created, because in addition to providing health services to the local people of Tansen, the United Mission Hospital’s executive committee felt that it was essential to provide health services to an even larger population, as well as support government health posts operating in the district of Palpa.
Currently, the CHD is running 9 different programs in the Palpa district, which include the Town Clinic Program, Satellite Mother & Child Health Clinic Program, Child Nutrition Rehabilitation Center, Health Post Strengthening Program, Healthy Schools Program, HIV Awareness Program, Safer Motherhood Program, Gender/ Disability/ Disaster Rehabilitation Program, and the Swastiya Jiwan (Healthy Life) Radio Program. The Community Health Department (CHD) is currently funded by FELM (Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission). However, their funding has been decreasing over the past 3 years, and as a result CHD had to discontinue or reduce their coverage in most of their community programs.
Hospital Director Dr. Rachel Karrach approached RMF to request funding for 3 of the CHD’s programs:
On August 23, 2016, RMF team member Gaurav Pradhan, along with intern Larish Gautam, traveled 260 km west of Kathmandu to visit the United Mission Hospital in Tansen, in the district of Palpa. Accordingly, during our stay in the district of Palpa, we visited the Town Clinic, Child Nutrition and Rehabilitation Center, and the Satellite MCH clinic to see them in action.
The Mother & Child Health Clinic is open from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, 5 days a week, Sunday through Friday. The clinic provides free medical services, including:
The Mother & Child Health Clinic sees an average of 20-30 patients each day, and on the day of RMF’s visit, the clinic received 11 patients for ANC visits and 14 for regular pediatric checkups.
Due to its collaboration with the District Health Office, the United Mission Hospital has been able to build goodwill and excellent credibility in the Palpa district.
The Satellite MCH Clinic Program has been in operation for 2 years in 2 VDCs of the Palpa district: Argali and Darlamdanda. Argali is located northwest of Tansen and Darlamdanda is located to the northeast of Tansen.
These VDCs are each visited once a month by the United Mission Hospital staff. The dates are fixed for every month, and if there is a change in the dates, the local health post and all stakeholders are informed well in advance.
The purpose of the Satellite MCH Clinic Program is to empower and strengthen local government health posts by providing orientation and training to health posts’ staff and also by providing much needed medical equipment so that women and children in outlying areas can access health services that would usually be available only in cities.
The Child Nutrition and Rehabilitation Center (CNRC) was established 10 years ago to look after malnourished children in a friendly and homelike environment. The center is built like a normal village home and has its own kitchen and garden. It can house up to 6 children and their mothers. Tthe center is designed to make the mothers and children feel comfortable, almost as if they were at home.
According to the admission register, there were a total of 459 children admitted to date and 14 admissions since February 2016
The CNRC charges NPR 20 per day, and families who cannot afford this fee are housed at the CNRC for free. The CNRC also provides food and training to the mothers and children. Training includes preparing nutritious food, family health, and hygiene.
For more than 30 years, the United Mission Hospital’s Community Health and Development Project has been providing primary health care clinics, health education, and health post strengthening in the Palpa district of Nepal. The project was reimagined in 2002 under the United Mission Hospital’s Community Health Department (CHD). RMF is supporting 3 of the Community Health Department’s programs: