A preliminary assessment of Kavre district and its need for health services was performed by RMF’s Nepal team immediately after the April 25, 2015 mega earthquake. We found that the health centers were in immediate need of health equipment and supplies, which would enable them to provide quality health services to area residents. RMF’s headquarters in the USA immediately responded to these needs by dispatching a 40-foot container filled with necessary health equipment and supplies.
However, the container could not reach Nepal at that time due to an unofficial economic blockade created by the Indian government. Nepal is a landlocked country, and the only way for the container to enter Nepal was through an Indian customs port. With the Indian government blocking any container from entering Nepal, the supplies had to stay in the Port of Kolkata for almost 6 months.
In January 2016, RMF’s Nepal team was finally able to receive the container. The equipment and medical supplies were stored in Dhulikhel (the headquarters of Kavre district). After having obtained necessary approvals from appropriate authorities to distribute the consignment to the village health posts of Kavre, our team conducted a small ceremony and handed over the consignment to the District Health Office.
Under RMF’s supervision, another small distribution ceremony was held in Birta Deurali Health Post, where the medical supplies and equipment were directly handed over to health post supervisors in February 2016.
All in all, the consignment was distributed among 17 village health posts and Dhulikhel Hospital. The initial decision was to distribute among 8 VDCs in Kavre, but because of the overwhelming quantity of supplies, the consignment was adequately distributed among 17 VDCs and Dhulikhel Hospital.
17 VDCs received medical supplies and equipment:
RMF Finance Manager Suman Gurung visited the villages with Mr. Lekh Raj Gautam, a respected local political figure, to inspect the condition of the consignment. They observed that most of the consignment had been distributed among the health posts, but some of the VDCs were unable to take the supplies to their health posts. This was because of the overwhelming size of their share of the consignment and a lack of funds to hire a vehicle to transport it. Furthermore, most of the boxes of supplies were unused and unopened, as the health posts were saving them for future use. We asked them to use supplies, such as antiseptics, hand sanitizers, surgical gloves, etc. and advised that RMF will try to replenish them in the future.
The RMF Nepal team, including Program Manager Ganesh Shrestha and Finance Manager Suman Gurung, visited the health posts again during the last week of November 2016. The goals of the visit were to track the consignment once more to ensure that supplies and equipment are being used effectively and to cement RMF’s position in the community and with government health posts to operate our 5-year community health outreach program. RMF’s team findings were previously undistributed supplies had been distributed, with the remainder to be given to the district hospital and equipment was used effectively and some required maintenance.
During RMF’s second visit to Kavre district health posts, our team found that many RMF-donated wheelchairs were not being used. A program to have the wheelchairs distributed among the shortlisted villagers was organized for December 2nd, 2016 at Madan Kundari Health Post. The program was chaired by Mr. Jhanka Gautam, chairperson of the Madan Kundari Health Post Management Committee. RMF’s team used our vehicle to collect all of the unused wheelchairs from the various health posts of Kavre district. However, we ensured that each of the health posts had at least one wheelchair remaining in their inventory.
FCHVs (Female Community Health Volunteers) are dedicated, permanent residents of the VDC where they work. After receiving basic training and supplies, FCHVs provide health education, supplements, basic medicines, and contraceptives to community members. RMF’s 5-year program in Kavre district will depend on and revolve around the involvement of these volunteers, as they are focal persons in the community when it comes to educating, training, mobilizing, and providing health services and referrals to the heath posts and district hospital. FCHVs hold a highly-respected position within their community, and their involvement is imperative to the success of RMF’s health outreach in remote settings of Nepal.
During the distribution program, the host, Mr. Tej Bahadur Ghising, expressed gratitude on behalf of the community and the Health Post Management Committee for RMF’s overwhelming support and expressed his hope for continued support in the future. Mr. Ghising also welcomed RMF’s 5-year program in the district and declared the community’s continued support to RMF’s objective of creating a sustainable, affordable, reliable health system in the district. The entire event was covered by the local media and published in a national weekly newspaper.
Real Medicine Foundation has submitted a proposal to the government of Nepal to continue its support in Kavre district, seeking to strengthen the healthcare system and operate a 5-year community health outreach program. The program will run in coordination with government facilities and will be aimed at strengthening the health system for a positive impact on the overall health of the community. Mr. Ganesh Kumar Shrestha joined RMF’s team to oversee the program’s implementation and the accomplishment of program objectives.
Unable to walk, hear, or speak from birth. Ms. Hira Lama’s disability meant that she could not express her feelings, but her mother was very happy to receive a wheelchair for her daughter. She said, “At least I will not have to carry her around all the time now, and we can move around more easily.”
At the age of 3, Arunima began having problems with her hip joint, and received physiotherapy at Dhulikhel Hospital. She was kept in the NCO children’s home, Naxal until 2015. After the earthquake in 2015, Arunima returned home. Ms. Arunima Lama was the happiest among the recipients, which could clearly be seen in her jubilant expressions throughout the program. She had always needed her father to move around, and now she could move on her own without her father’s help.