19 Dec Nurses for Nepal
Nurses for Nepal is a program increasing access to quality healthcare for people in remote communities. The program is based in Waku and Chheskam, in the lower Solukhumbu region in Nepal, and is run by Nepalese NGO Action For Nepal with support and funding through the Australian Himalayan Foundation (AHF).
What impacts access to healthcare in the Himalaya?
Remote regions like the Solukhumbu face lots of challenges to basic good health, including:
- Long distances, rough roads, and lack of transport – it can be up to 3 days walk to the nearest hospital
- Trained medical health professionals often move to the cities instead of staying in the rural areas
- Community members don’t have enough education around health and hygiene
- Local health posts lack equipment and medicine
- With stop/start electricity there is often no refrigeration/sterilisation capacity
The aim of the Nurses for Nepal project is to provide all members of the local community access to quality health care services.
How do we address these challenges?
AHF is funding two fully qualified nurses to provide health support for Waku and Chheskam regions, as well as training a third person in Kathmandu to become a qualified nurse and return to the region.
The nurses provide:
- Support for local health posts
- Health and hygiene education for the community including school workshops
- Birth Attendant training for health post staff to provide antenatal, birthing and postnatal care
- Dental care initiatives
- Attending Health Mothers Group meetings to educate women about family health and childcare
The Nurses for Nepal community nurses work with female community health volunteers and local health staff to provide medical services. They have spent time working on Birth Preparedness with local teams, which is important in a region where most births are at home. They also visit schools and mothers groups to educate and inform the community about health and hygiene.
“… we feel the women listen to us more seriously if the nurse attends our health Mother’s Group
Meetings. It is very good that the project is focusing on the community, schools, as well as the Health
Post.” – Laxmi Rai, Female Health Community Volunteer, Waku
Is it working?
Yes! In the past year the program has:
- Provided over 2000 immunisations to children and pregnant women in Nepal’s remote villages
- Provided 2500 students with health education on personal hygiene, handwashing, oral hygiene, communicable disease and changes at adolescence
- Delivered antenatal services to over 150 women
- Provided family planning services to 3800 people
- Provided over 8500 men, women, children and babies with outpatient services in remote Waku and Chheskam
In particular the nurses have made a positive contribution to local school children, introducing workshops on hygiene, handwashing and communicable diseases. Most importantly, they also cover subjects that would not otherwise be addressed by teachers such as puberty, menstruation and sexual health. Over time, as the children become adults and involved in the community, this will have a significant impact on attitudes, knowledge, and action, which will lead to more progressive and developed policies, governance, and health for Nepal.
“We appreciate the “Nurses for Nepal” project and its various activities very much. Since there are
a limited number of teachers in our school, the health subject is taught by teachers on rotation.
When the nurse herself comes to take the class the students take her more seriously than the regular
teachers.” – Guru Prasad Rai, Principal of Chheskam Secondary School