Namtar Health Project, joint project by PPS- Nepal, Medical Outreachers (MO), Health In Action (HIA), Kathmandu Medical College (KMC)
By volunteer Walter Leung
Since the field assessments to Nepal in preparing these 2 health projects in January, I was so impressed by the organizing capacities and vision in promoting health in rural areas of these young medical students.
It was a wonderful mission, full of laughter, adventure and the unexpected. Road block by traffic accident, flat tire, news of strike in Kathmandu on our planned day to return to Kathmandu that we urgently decided to depart from Namtar at night of 8th June.
It was a fruitful health mission that I am sure all the participants, including Medical Outreachers and Kathmandu Medical College have experienced and learnt a lot in actual field household assessments in scattered villages, health promotions in school, and health camps in Government Health Posts and Christian Health clinics.
Arrival and Preparation
After assembling with the medical team from KMC in Kathmandu, the team arrived Namtar after a long and eventful (road blockage due to a truck hitting an ambulance and a bus flat tire) 9-hour bus ride. Brief discussion on the sampling methods for household surveys and the final review and clarification of the survey tool was done before the first day of household survey.
It was a new experience for the MO students to conduct field household survey, while climbing up and down, and shuttling between corn fields; all enjoyed the sceneries and the hospitality of the village people. In spite of the diverse scattering of the villages and households, we have completed around 200 surveys in two and half days for survey. I am sure this can generate valuable information for planning upcoming program in meeting the health and hygiene needs in Namtar. Also this is also a precious experience for medical students in designing and conducting household surveys as well as to have an in-depth partnership with their local counterparts during the journey of surveys.
Health education and promotion in Secondary school
The group conducted a health education and promotion campaign to a secondary school from hygiene promotion, knowledge in infectious diseases such as Ebola and Zika virus and their prevention to reproductive health to higher grade students. It was an interesting and interactive event that all were so happy with all the smiles.
Health Camps in Gov Health Post and CHC
MO has drafted a preliminary site plan and workflow of the health camp which is good and logical, fine tuning will be on site in accordance to the actual spaces available and the physical boundaries that can be used. We conducted health education and promotion in the waiting areas before medical consultations that effectively made use of the time for community engagement. The medical students of MO and KMC were so innovative in disseminating essential health information though we have language barriers but did not block the information passage as they used body language, and the most interesting was to use the Nepalese language hand washing song that was downloaded from internet together with the funny and innovative dancing with the song. Lots of fun and laughter.
KMC doctors provided tireless medical consultations so impressive with their dedications and professionalism. There were some injured patients who came to our health camp. We did one case of suturing to a laceration of a student and a couple of wound dressings.
Children engagement through games, balloon playing was also carried out to enhance community engagement as well as to develop better rapport for future programs.
This mission is an invaluable experience for all parties and also established the partner relationship among PPS, MO, HIA, and KMC for upcoming programs. Household survey and field assessment also provided valuable information for planning future actions to meet the specific health needs of the communities.