Nepal: Orphanage Support
NCO Celebrates National Children’s Day: Q3 2018
November 25, 2018
Ganesh Shrestha, Program Manager and Pragya Gautam, Program and M&E Coordinator
Summary of Activities
Currently, RMF supports two NCO children’s homes in Kathmandu, located at Naxal and Sifal, with 1 nurse and 2 auxiliary nurses. RMF’s nurses provide 24-hour, daily care for the children sheltered in these homes. Nurses provide both preventive and curative health services to all the children as well as the staff of NCO. As a result of their continuous presence, they are able to diagnose children more efficiently, leading to earlier diagnosis and treatment. RMF’s nurses are especially committed to providing care for children with chronic diseases and special needs, as these children are more vulnerable to infections and require special care.
Apart from providing nursing staff for these two NCO children’s homes, RMF also provides financial support for more extensive medical treatment. When a child has a serious illness, his or her case is taken over by RMF. The child is treated at the appropriate hospital in Kathmandu, and RMF bears all the costs of investigation, treatment, and hospitalization.
During this reporting period:
- 482 children were treated by RMF nurses at NCO homes
- NCO children attended a health camp focused on ear, nose, and throat health
- NCO celebrated National Children’s Day
- RMF Pediatricians from Kanti Children’s Hospital continued to visit NCO homes on a weekly basis
Addressing Health Concerns
RMF Medical Team in Action
The most common health concerns among NCO children are respiratory problems ranging from the common cold to chest infections and pneumonia. The next most common ailments are digestive problems including abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. Many children also suffer from skin allergies and fevers.
RMF nurses care for the sick children to the best of their ability at NCO homes and take the children to the hospital for conditions outside of their capacity. RMF pediatricians’ weekly visits to NCO have helped the RMF nurses learn to identify more health problems and manage various conditions more confidently. The pediatricians are also able to screen children for less noticeable symptoms that may not be easily identified by the nurses.
Free Health Camp at NCO
Supporting At-Risk Children
A free health camp for the children was organized by NCO in collaboration with Leo Club of Kathmandu Medical College. The health camp was focused mainly on ear, nose, and throat (ENT) problems. A significant number of children at NCO suffer from ENT and respiratory illnesses most of the time.
At the camp, 10 ENT surgeons examined the children for ENT problems and other health conditions. They also conducted an education session on hygiene maintenance and basic infection prevention techniques.
The surgeons recommended that children with complex ENT conditions see specialized doctors in the hospital. The most common problem found among the children was the perforation of the tympanic membrane, a part of the eardrum, due to recurrent ear infections. Overall, the NCO children benefited greatly from the camp.
NCO Celebrates National Children’s Day
Special Program Held with Many Guests
On September 14, NCO celebrated National Children’s Day with a grand program chaired by NCO Chairperson Ms. Rita Singh. The chief guest of the program was His Excellency Honorable Mr. Nanda Bahadur Pun (Pasang), Vice President of Nepal.
The attendees included the members and former members of the NCO Board of Directors as well as representatives from different organizations supporting NCO, including RMF. Also in attendance were winners of the school competitions and their teachers, as well as children from NCO homes.
One of the distinguished guests was Ashok Darji, an 8-year-old boy, who was found singing in the streets of eastern Nepal. The person who heard him thought he had real talent and decided to mentor him to sharpen his singing skills. In a short period of time, Ashok became a famous singer. He was invited so that he could tell his story and motivate other children to cultivate their talents.
Established in 1964, Nepal Children’s Organization (NCO), also known as Balmandir (The Children’s Temple) is one of the oldest non-profit organizations in Nepal working for the protection and promotion of childrens’ rights and providing residential care to the children at risk. This includes orphans, differently-abled, abandoned and conflict affected children.
After the devastating earthquake on April 25th, followed by another strong earthquake on May 12th, an estimated 2,023 children have been confirmed dead. Likewise, the number of the injured children has been established at 876 and approximately, 200 children have lost their mothers and 112 have lost their fathers. Nearly 2 million children are said to have been affected by this mega quake and the powerful aftershocks thereafter. (Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, June 2015)
Among those children who lost their parents, many have come under the tutelage of NCO, whose own shelter home was heavily destroyed by the disaster. Currently, through their 10 children’s homes within and outside Kathmandu valley, NCO has been caring for 280 children, including the earthquake-affected.
RMF will be supporting NCO in improving orphanage-based children’s health by providing better quality primary health care, including nutrition, sanitation and hygiene.
- Provide psychosocial counseling to deeply affected children
- Construct a room for infants
- Health and sanitation trainings for house mothers and children
- Construct a room for differently-abled children
- Provide better quality primary healthcare
- Provide qualified staff nurses at NCO’s centers
- Enhance knowledge and awareness of health and nutrition
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Recovering From Lung Infection
5-month-old Sofia had fever and cough which caused her to begin breathing quickly and wheezing. She was given paracetamol drops and also nebulized saline, a solution used to treat lung infections, but the condition did not improve.
At around midnight, she was taken to the hospital where she was assessed in the emergency section. She was given nebulization therapy 3 times every 30 minutes. After her condition improved and stabilized, she was discharged with a diagnosis of bronchospasm. The doctor’s week-long prescription was followed, and now Sofia is doing very well. RMF nurses have taken good care of her.
Health Restored After a Serious Fall
Sabal, an active 15-month-old, fell down the stairs while he was playing. The accident led to a deep cut on his forehead which bled profusely and did not stop even after applying pressure. While nurses provided continuous pressure to the wound, he was taken to the nearby hospital’s emergency ward.
The attending physician secured the wound with a couple of stitches while Sabal was under local anesthesia. The doctor advised RMF nurses to dress the wound daily and follow up if any complication occurs. RMF nurses followed his instructions and took out the stitches on the seventh day.
The child required a lot of care and consolation after such a serious wound. He was also given a course of antibiotics to prevent infection. Due to pain, he also had a fever which was managed with paracetamol. As the injury was on his head, the doctor advised the nurses to monitor the child closely. Through the RMF nurses’ meticulous care, Sabal’s health has been restored.
Prompt Hospitalization Saves His Life
3-month-old Samir Balak developed sudden fever which was controlled with a single dose of paracetamol. However, after two days his fever returned, and he began to cough and wheeze. The nurses tried to improve his condition by giving him more paracetamol and administering nebulized saline. Fortunately, an RMF pediatrician visited NCO and suggested that RMF nurses take Samir to the hospital.
In the hospital, various tests were conducted, and Samir was screened for cardiac problems. The tests revealed that he had a severe blood infection (sepsis). He was hospitalized for 11 days and given multiple intravenous antibiotics. After his condition stabilized, he was discharged from the hospital. Thanks to the RMF pediatrician as well as the RMF nurses’ prompt treatment and continuous care, Samir is doing well now.
Adopted at Birth
Kathy Sharma was born prematurely and was fighting for her life as she suffered from neonatal jaundice and meningitis. She was kept in the neonatal ICU in Patan Hospital where she was born. Unfortunately, her mother fled the scene, leaving Kathy motherless and alone in the hospital. Hospital administration informed NCO of the situation and NCO immediately sent an RMF nurse to the hospital. The RMF nurse took care of the child for 15 days. When Kathy was finally discharged from the hospital, she was adopted by NCO, and the RMF nurses and NCO mothers continue to take good care of her. She is now one month old and living in NCO home Naxal.