Last year, Himalayan Trust supporters provided new equipment and furniture for the health post in Bung. Now, your support is enabling the project team to:
- train two local people as a health assistant and an auxiliary nurse/midwife;
- work with women and mother groups to understand the main health issues they face and ensure the health post is able to address these issues;
- educate the community about the medical care the health post can provide and the care they are entitled to;
- increase awareness among the community of their right to a good local health service and empower the local people to make the right decisions regarding their own health care.
Dr. Jangmoo Sherpa, Program Director with our local partner Action for Nepal, tells us more about Bung and the programme:
“Bung is in the far west of the mountainous Solukhumbu district of Nepal. The village stretches several kilometres down a steep, terraced hillside. There is a population of around 4500 people. Most people are involved in agriculture but during the trekking season lots of the young people leave their villages to work as porters.
“About 30 years ago Sir Ed built the original clinic in the village and launched the first local health care service. Since then, a much larger clinic has been built by the government. It’s a little bit further to walk for some people, but if we make sure it’s providing a good service, people will be prepared to walk for 2-3 days to reach the health post.
Revitalising the health service
“When we were planning this project in Bung, we didn’t want to just provide equipment and materials to the health post. We could do that but then what if no one comes? So our aim is to work with the community so they know what facilities are available at the health post and encourage them to make use of the service.
“The project team has two facilitators who will hold a series of 12 meetings with women’s groups in the community to talk about what health problems they face and together, they will work out how the health post can best address these issues.
Local health workers
“There is also a problem with retaining health workers in remote areas. Often 40-50% of positions are vacant and people find it hard to adjust to living in the remote areas. So this project is funding the training of two local people as a health assistant and a nurse/midwife. The local people are really happy to be able to work in their community.”
Support for pregnant women
“Lots of pregnant women in the remote areas don’t go for ante-natal check-ups or post-natal care. There are still lots of women who work in fields and deliver in the fields. We hear stories of women going out to collect wood, deliver their baby and then carry the baby home with the wood.
“The reality of life in this area is very harsh. There are babies who are die during delivery and during first few months of life. Many children don’t survive more than a year. The under-five mortality rate is still too high.
“People in developed countries don’t usually die when they deliver a baby. It’s not something that should happen. But here in the remote areas of Nepal, people take death during delivery as normal. They just say it was her fate – so she died.
“It is very important that we inform women and make them aware of their rights, and make them aware of what precautions they should take and what care is available.
Human right to health care
“With the new system of local government, there is an opportunity for the community to talk to local leaders and try to influence them. We want to inform and educate women and the wider community about their local rights and their health rights so they can work with the local government to find address health concerns in the area.