School Hygiene Programme
This programme was started in 2007 by medical student Chiara Taylor while she was on her elective at the hospital. The aim was to develop a simple programme to educate people in the remote and poor areas around Gorkha on how to improve their living environment in terms of hygiene. Both The Youth Movement for Environment (TYME) and the Gorkha Women’s Association (GWA) became involved in the planning and implementation of this project.
The project is run in schools, providing access to a group of children who may be vulnerable to disease through poor hygiene practices, who could also pass on their knowledge to family and friends at home. Now the programme runs once or twice a year, rotating around different schools in poor areas of Gorkha and the surrounding villages, giving a ten-week course of once-weekly classes to children aged 9 to 11 in each school.
Lessons are run by volunteers from the GWA and others, covering topics such as clean drinking water, personal hygiene, keeping the home environment clean and use of toilets. They include practical and fun sessions, for example making water filters from plastic bottles. The Opening and Closing Ceremonies include a repeated short test, as a way of measuring how much the children had learnt during the programme. The school is also given buckets and sweeping brushes, and the children are each given a bar of soap, nail clippers, a toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste to encourage them to get into the habit of using these items. Schools visited:
- Shree Gorakh Kali Primary School, one hour’s walk from Gorkha town centre
- Shree Prthvi Narayan Bal Vikas Primary school, in Gorkha town with a low caste, poor catchment
Gorkha Municipal Hospital
From the beginning of the charity there has been a close link with the hospital in Gorkha. Early volunteers including Chris Marion together with members of the community helped to clean and paint the wards. Other volunteers involved in medicine have helped over the years by providing much needed equipment and medical supplies. Many medical students have undertake their elective experience at the hospital under the guidance of the very helpful Doctors in charge.
The medical problems in the area consist largely of communicable diseases, 50% of which affect the under-fives. Many patients do not go to the hospital until their conditions are well-advanced. This is usually because the distance from home is too great (some have to walk for days to get to the hospital) or because the cost is more than they can afford. Patients pay for their consultations, in patient care and treatment.
If a patient is over 60, or is very poor, the care is paid for from the Hospital Poor Fund. This decision is made at the discretion of the doctors, and there is no formal assessment.
In April 2015 the Gorkha Hospital was greatly affected by the earthquakes in the region, following which many patients were being treated outside on the hospital grounds. Conditions remain very difficult and the main hospital building has structural damage and cannot be used. In 2017, temporary wards are still being used.
Medical elective students spend most of their time in observation, but all the doctors take pains to translate consultations and medical procedures. Following the 2015 earthquakes the Doctors at this Government hospital are very keen to welcome Medical Electives for 4-6 week placements as well as a small private hospital in the town. Contact us for more details
Gorkha Municipal Hospital is a small hospital with limited resources serving Gorkha District and serving a very rural and disparate population in the mid hills of Nepal. Many patients will suffer long journeys to get to the hospital but alternative hospitals are 4-6 hours away in Kathmandu or Pokhera or small private hospitals which are not an option for most rural people.
Funds to the Government hospital have been limited and the difficulties exacerbated by the devastation caused to the hospital in the major earthquakes of 2015. However, we are pleased to say that the hospital has recently been demolished! Good news? Yes, as with funding from Germany a brand new hospital of 50 beds is being built. This will not only help the local people but also attract Doctors to the rural town which has long term been a problem. At that time GDS were asked to supply wheelchairs and we were happy to supply funds for 3 wheelchairs at that time.
Request for equipment.
Over recent years GDS has been able to supply the hospital with much needed equipmet and resources.
In 2017, GDS were approached to help by providing funds for equipment. At the top of the priority list were Oxygen concentrators. Dr Santosh wrote:-
As we all know that oxygen supply is one of the basic thing that a hospital need for service delivery. Our hospital don’t have its own oxygen supply plant. We are totally dependent upon the oxygen delivery into the cylinders from Bharatpur, Chitwan. These cylinders get emptied very soon and need to be replaced. But our main problem is we don’t have any stock cylinders and the transporters carry these cylinders only when all of them are emptied. So for that transaction period there’s been scarcity of oxygen in our hospital. Many times we need to refer the patient just because we don’t have oxygen. And the road condition of Narayanghat – Muglin is so unpredictable that we aren’t getting the supplies on time.
Funding Application to Gorkha Development Scheme, UK
|Item to be purchased||Number required||Cost of individual item in Nepali Rupees||Total cost of items
in Nepali Rupees
|1 Oxygen concentrator||2||115 645||231 290|
|2 Suction machine||2||17,175||34,350|
|3 IV nebulisation machine||2||8015||16,030|
|4 Transportation (total)||1||5,000||5,000|
|Note each item include 13% VAT and 1.5% service charge||286670NRP|
|Approximate request in UK £ (exchange at 135 NRP per £1.00)||Aprox £2132|
GDS Trustees requested confirmation of several points from the hospital as noted below:-
- Is the Hospital able to meet running costs of equipment – disposable tubes, face masks etc?
- Can the Hospital maintain machines and undertake repairs?
- Maximum use of equipment is ensured and they will not end up broken/unused in a cupboard!
Dr Tiwari provided the reassuring reply: – We will definitely use these equipments and we are aware of the importance of proper handling and regular maintenance of these equipments. We are desparately in need of these so there is no cupboard in the whole Hospital to keep the equipments unsused! Thank you again for the support for poor people of Gorkha.
Delivery of equipment
GDS then agreed for the money to be released for the purchase of the equipment. In May we were thrilled to see that as our volunteer Richard van Este arrived in Gorkha, the equipment was ready for delivery into the hospital as can be seen with committee members and Doctors with Richard.
Naomi Cairns who was a former volunteer, is now Medical Student and GDS Trustee, visited Gorkha in September. Naomi had undertaken a Triathlon in London in June which raised a total of £564 with the funds being used towards the donated equipment. Naomi was therefore thrilled to be able to see the oxygen concentrator and the other equipment purchased through the UK fundraising, now in use by patients at the hospital and making a difference to people’s lives when most needed in the hospital and very clearly saving lives.
Each oxygen concentrator cost £850. The machine takes oxygen from the air, compresses it and makes it available to the patient resulting in a constant supply of oxygen to the patient. There is no cost of buying in oxygen cylinders, no risk of delivery not arriving or the tank running out when a patient most needs it. Its win all round.
The Doctors are of course so grateful for the immense help this provides for patient care. We will now work with the Doctors to see how we might best help in the future.
Thank you for your help and support.