Grant and Finance Manager Gaurav Pradhan attending the RMF Clinic Management Committee meeting
Caring for those in Need
Soon after the earthquake, RMF began providing much-needed emergency health support to the people of Arupokhari, a remote village in Gorkha district. With the long-term vision of establishing, operating, and sustaining quality health services in the region, in January 2016, RMF opened a health clinic in Arupokhari. The health clinic that was previously operating in the region was severely damaged due to the earthquake, and it had since remained closed. RMF constructed a temporary structure in the same location and has been providing health services such as an outpatient department (OPD) and emergency services, first aid, family planning and counseling, antenatal and postnatal care services, and a supply of pharmaceutical drugs. Health services are provided to the community for free, while pharmaceuticals are supplied at a subsidized rate. However, if any patient is unable to pay for the medicines, RMF provides them for free.
A teacher from a nearby school came to the RMF clinic to monitor his blood pressure
Quality Healthcare Provided
1,999 Patients Served
The RMF Health Clinic is dedicated to providing health services to the residents of Arupokhari and its neighboring villages free of charge. Since opening in January 2016, the RMF Health Clinic has treated 15,170 patients. Of these, the RMF clinic served 501 patients in January, 764 in February, and 734 in March, for a total of 1,999 patients during the first quarter of 2018, of which 970 were female and 1,029 were male. The clinic averaged about 666 patients per month during this period. Respiratory disease was found to be the leading health problem registered at the clinic, followed by skin infection, fever, digestive system disease, and accidents/fall injuries.
Lok Bahadur Gurung
Lok Bahadur Gurung
Hypertension and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Lok Bahadur Gurung, an 86-year-old who hails from Arupokhari, has suffered from hypertension and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) for a long time. He comes to RMF Health Clinic regularly to monitor his blood pressure and to get his prescriptions. He is happy that he is able to have regular checkups and receive health education to maintain a comfortable life.
Ganesh Bahadur Shrestha
Ganesh Bahadur Shrestha
Ganesh Bahadur Shrestha visited RMF clinic with a swollen right hand which was throbbing with pain. He reported that the condition began with a small blister which began to feel itchy. He neglected the blister, but day by day the size of the blister increased and so did the pain. On examination, the hand was warm to the touch and tender. There was no pus, but the pain was excruciating. The RMF clinical officer decided that Ganesh needed to undergo some investigations for the condition, and thus he counseled the client to visit a higher center for proper diagnosis of the condition.
Sushmita Surkheti, a 15-month-old baby, was brought to RMF clinic by her mother as she was crying relentlessly and could not be pacified. On the way to the clinic, Sushmita’s mother noticed that the intensity of her crying was gradually decreasing. When she arrived, RMF Clinical Officer Bishnu assessed the child and found that pus was discharging from her ears. He explained to the mother that her child’s pain was more severe before pus began to discharge, after which it had drastically reduced. He prescribed oral antibiotics and eardrops and also counseled the mother not to put oil in the baby’s ears, as it is a common practice in Nepali culture, not to clean the ears using pointed objects, and to cautiously breastfeed bathe the child so that water or milk will not leak into the ears, which may cause further infection. She was happy to know which common practices could cause infections in children and thanked Mr. Bishnu for the information.
Lacerations and Bruises
Puskar Baram is a 25-year-old man who resides in Arupokhari. He was under the influence of locally brewed alcohol when a fight broke out between him and his neighbor. During the fight, he acquired minor lacerations and bruises, and his family members brought him to RMF clinic for treatment. His wounds were dressed, and he was given analgesic for the pain.
Tame Gurung, an 87-year-old woman, was carried to the RMF clinic by a few residents of Arupokhari when she suddenly fainted after complaining of dizziness. On general examination, she was found to have high blood pressure, which could have caused the paralysis of the left side. RMF Clinical Officer Bishnu counseled her relatives to take her to a higher center immediately to seek prompt treatment that could save her life. They arranged to take her to Chitwan, the nearest district with tertiary-level health facilities. There, she was diagnosed with cerebral hemorrhage due to hypertension. She underwent emergency surgery to remove the blood clots in her brain, and thus her neurological functions were restored. The expert doctors in Chitwan told Tame’s family that they had brought her in right time, as a delay could have left her paralyzed forever. They thanked RMF’s clinical officer for his prompt decision and tactfulness. Tame has now recovered and is under medication for high blood pressure. She regularly visits RMF clinic to monitor her blood pressure and refers to Mr. Bishnu as her savior. Every time she comes, she blesses him for playing a vital role in saving her life.
- Rebuild the village as a replicable model, which will include earthquake-safe structures designed by architects and engineers
- Use local natural and human resources to ensure ownership and sustainability
- Improve healthcare access and education based on the needs of the communities and with the leadership of the local people
In line with RMF’s concepts and the government of Nepal’s vision for a comprehensive and eventually sustainable Model Village, RMF, in close partnership and collaboration with Sarswati Foundation will be working towards the development of a Model Village in Arupokhari. Sarswati Foundation has been working in Arupokhari, Gorkha since 2009 as a non-profit. This was co-founded by Subhash Ghimire, a native from that village and editor-in-chief of the Republica, Nepal’s leading English daily that publishes with the New York Times in Kathmandu.
Following the devastating earthquake, the non-profit has been actively engaged in relief and reconstruction works in the area, which includes providing food and temporary shelter relief to the affected people. So far, the foundation has delivered 7.5 tons (100 sacks of 30 kg rice, 50 sacks of 50 kg lentils, 500 sacks of 0.5 L of oil, 500 packets of 1 kg salt, 495 blankets, 350 tents) to the community, and aims to rebuild the village as a replicable model, which will include earthquake-safe structures designed by architects and engineers, utilizing local natural and human resources to ensure ownership and sustainability, improved healthcare access, education and livelihood programs, based on the needs of the communities and with the leadership of the local people.
Similarly, the village also holds a huge potential as a thriving Manaslu trekking route, along with a 600-megawatt hydro project being planned around in the area. In addition, the community is also actively engaged in production of local agricultural products and livestock. With a thought-out detailed plan, the opportunities of the village could be tapped in to create a replicable, integrated and sustainable Model Village.
RMF supports the rebuilding of Sarswati Peace School (more than 200 students, mostly from economically and culturally marginalized backgrounds) and Darbar Higher Secondary School (public school with more than 400 students), both of which were badly damaged during the earthquake. The current plan is to demolish the existing damaged structure and construct earthquake resistant buildings.
Along with the support to the reconstruction of the schools, the model village project also seeks to help build at least 100 temporary shelters and 700 permanent houses to the identified most vulnerable households in the community and one earthquake resistant local health center. Health services, education, and the economy will be supported for the long-term as the people of Arupokhari build a stronger future in collaboration with RMF and Sarswati.