Nepal: Orphanage Support
425 Children Treated by RMF Nurses: Q4 2018
April 17, 2019
Ganesh Shrestha and Pragya Gautam
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 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 the children with chronic diseases and special needs, as these children are more vulnerable to infections and require special care.
In addition to providing nursing staff for these two NCO children’s homes, RMF provides regular doctors’ checkups to the children, as our pediatricians from Kanti Children’s Hospital visit the homes weekly. Children in need of more extensive medical treatment are referred to the hospital and accompanied by an RMF nurse.
- 476 children were treated by RMF nurses or referred to the hospital.
- The new nurse, Shriya Dhamala, is supporting Bal Mandir (the NCO children’s home in Naxal).
- NCO children attended a health camp focused on skin health.
- RMF pediatricians from Kanti Children’s Hospital continued to visit NCO homes on a weekly basis.
- Dashain, Tihar, and Christmas were celebrated with the children.
New RMF Nurse at NCO
Meet Shriya Sharma
Shriya Sharma hails from the Kailali district, which is located in the midwestern region of Nepal.
Before joining RMF’s team, Shriya worked in a shelter where abandoned children and elderly people lived. She also has experience working in the community. Shriya is now an RMF nurse at the NCO home in Naxal, Kathmandu. She says that the NCO home is a place of profound happiness, which she sees in the eyes of these innocent children. Nurse Shriya’s duties include caring for both ill and healthy children and providing health education to the children and NCO staff.
Free Health Camp
Treating Skin Conditions
Most of the children at NCO homes suffer from skin diseases and conditions. Dr. Shraddha Pradhan Gorkhali, a dermatologist from Grande International Hospital, sought the cooperation of NCO’s administration in organizing a free checkup event for the children, and NCO Director Balkrishna Dangol approved the plan.
During the camp, RMF nurses assisted two dermatologists, who also conducted a short education session on the prevention of common skin diseases through methods such as hygiene maintenance and medication.
NCO children benefited greatly from the health camp. The NCO administration was very thankful for the dermatologists’ efforts at the event and to RMF nurses for assisting in the operation of the camp.
Vitamin A Program
Supporting Young Immune Systems
Vitamin A is essential to support children’s immune systems. In April and October, the National Vitamin A Program administers 200,000 IU of vitamin A to children from 6 months to 5 years of age throughout the country. RMF nurses facilitated the Vitamin A Program themselves by transporting the vitamin A capsules from the nearby government health center to NCO homes. The nurses administered the vitamin capsules to all the targeted children on that day.
Dashain Festival Celebration
Children Receive New Clothes
Dashain is a Nepali national festival which is celebrated for 15 days in September or October (the sixth lunar month). To provide the children with a family-like environment, NCO homes celebrate all the common festivals, with Dashain being the most exciting. During Dashain, all the children are given a set of new clothes. The children at NCO celebrate Dashain with great excitement. During this festival, they get a vacation from school and enjoy feasting on mouth-watering delicacies. They also get more time to enjoy and utilize their creativity.
Tihar Festival Celebration
Children Light Candles and Lamps
Two weeks after Dashain, the second most important Hindu festival, Tihar, begins. This festival is celebrated for 5 days and gives significant importance to animal lives around us. Hindu culture celebrates many festivals to respect and celebrate family relationships. Tihar is also the festival of lights, and the NCO children celebrated by lighting candles and oil lamps all around the premises of NCO homes.
The children enjoyed the festivals very much. They sang, danced and participated in fun activities during the school vacation. During these festivals, NCO receives gifts and donations to make the children happy and also to introduce them to the culture most people of Nepal embrace.
Children Receive Personalized Gifts
NCO also has provisions to celebrate Christmas every year. NCO children are invited to Hotel Yak & Yeti in Kathmandu for Christmas, and a program is organized to ensure that all the children receive gifts with their names on them and food that they request. During the Christmas event, the children danced and enjoyed their meals and gifts. NCO and RMF work to ensure that the children experience joy and love at all times, but especially during the holidays. By nurturing their emotional development in this way, the children can grow to be well-rounded individuals and responsible citizens.
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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Hospitalized for Bacterial Infection
Priti Balami has lived at the NCO home in Sifal for more than a decade. She has cerebral palsy and was abandoned by her parents, who could not care for a disabled child. She also has neuromuscular scoliosis which causes her great suffering.
As a result of her cerebral palsy, Priti has limited mobility and is more susceptible to illness. When she fell ill with a high-grade fever, RMF nurses tried to treat it with paracetamol, but Priti’s breathing rate was abnormal and her temperature continued shooting up. RMF Nurse Pushpa rushed Priti to Kathmandu Medical College Teaching Hospital’s emergency department. She was examined there by the on-duty doctor and recommended for inpatient treatment.
Laboratory tests were performed, and Priti’s blood culture showed that she had staphylococcus aureus, a powerful species of bacteria which requires intensive observation and treatment with a broad spectrum of intravenous antibiotics, as well as other symptomatic treatment, such as antipyretics and nebulization therapy. She was admitted to the hospital for 5 days and her condition improved gradually.
RMF Nurse Pushpa made all the arrangements for Priti’s hospitalization, care, and transportation. Once she was discharged, Nurse Pushpa took good care of Priti and taught other staff how to help her recover more quickly. When Nurse Pushpa is near, Priti makes gestures indicating that she is happy.