Things in Nepal take a very long time! Our Circles of Hope project which has been a work in progress since February 2018 is progressing! Saguna, our Fistula Project Manager has signed the licencing agreement with Days for Girls to set up an Enterprise operating out of NHEDF’s Shelter. All we are waiting for now is a date for Enterprise training!
Jhumu is a young girl with spina bifida. She was incontinent of both faeces and urine due to a tumour pressing on her spinal cord. NHEDF organised surgery for her and the faecal incontinence is now fixed but the urinary incontinence is not. It is not just fistula affected women that will benefit from the incontinence products that our Circles of Hope will make, but NHEDF patients too. We are hoping that her urinary incontinence will be cured in time through physio and bladder training and further investigations will be done as appropriate. Fingers crossed everyone!
Ramba is 23 years old. She comes from a poor family in a place called Dang in the south-west Terai region (which borders India). She was married at the age of 13 and the following year, aged 14, whilst cleaning her parents-in-law’s house, she fell from the second floor and fractured her spine. She was taken to the local hospital but due to inadequate Government resourcing and funding, treatment was simply not possible. She was transferred to a larger center and operated on and then sent back to her village. Tragically, she became bed-ridden. Her husband started neglecting her and after a year he left her and told her to go back to her parents, which she did.
Ramba remained completely bed ridden for three years. Finally her brother and sister decided they would motivate her to walk again.
Seven months later she was able to take a few steps but life is not kind to many people in Nepal – when she turned 19, her mother died, and her father married another woman. Her step-mother was cruel to Ramba and started to beat her, so she and her younger sister left and moved into a rented room. Eventually she was able to find a job as a guest worker in India working for a textiles factory. Her job was to encourage people in Nepal to work for the same factory, and she was paid a commission for every employee she brought to them. It would take her four days to make the round-trip, but she only needed to find two people a month to earn NPR 10,000 (approximately $110) It was enough money to pay her and her younger sister’s rent, living expenses and their education.
Ramba worked really hard to make a success of her life and two years ago, at the age of 21, she graduated from high school with not just her School Leaving Certificate (the equivalent of our Year 10) but her + 2 (our equivalent of Year 12).
A few months ago, Ramba began to experience increasing weakness in her legs and started worrying about her future. She managed to find help from a friend who also had a spinal injury and advised her to go to an organisation called the National Disabled Fund (NDF) in Kathmandu. It took two months for supportive friends and family to find the financial resources to make this happen, and eventually she and her sister were able to make the 14-hour bus journey to Kathmandu armed with NPR 25,000 (approximately AU$ 305). They knew no one, had never been to Kathmandu and had never even heard of physiotherapy. They managed to rent a room in a hotel for NPR 7,000 (AU$80) a month. They then went to NDF where the physiotherapist advised Ramba that she could help her walk properly again, but she would have to continue physiotherapy for 3 – 4 months at NPR 50/day (AU$0.60) Their funds only lasted a month and although Ramba searched high and low for a job, no one was willing to employ someone with a disability. In desperation, Ramba took the advice of someone she met in Kathmandu who told her about a thermal therapy that he said would fix her. Unfortunately, it was a scam, and not only did she spend precious rupees on the treatment, she acquired a large burn in her pelvic area and had no money left to pay for treatment for her newly acquired wounds.
A fellow patient, who attends NDF for physiotherapy told Ramba about NHEDF and asked her to call them. After hearing her story NHEDF admitted her to the Shelter where she is receiving daily dressings to her burn and regular physiotherapy. NHEDF’s goal is to help her walk again, so she can live with her disability, earn a living and survive.
Thank you NHEDF!
Bharat is a 29 year-old man from Rolpa in the far west of Nepal. He is married with a 2 year-old daughter and used to work for a government school as a part time teacher. A year ago, he decided to leave his job and go and work as a laborer in Dubai. After twelve months he returned to Nepal to see his family, but was injured in an accident and sustained facial fractures and a badly broken leg. He was taken to a hospital which was a 3 hour walk away from his village, but they were unable to treat him. He was told to go to Chitwan eight hours away. He was operated on there to fix a fractured facial bone and had an external fixator applied to his badly broken leg. He was in hospital for two months before being discharged home, but he still required daily dressings which is a disaster for people who live in remote regions with no access to health care. Dressing products were costing him about $2 a day.
Many people find it hard to believe that medical costs in a third world country can be so crippling. Bharat’s initial hospital stay cost about NPR 5 Lakh which is about AU$7,050. He was able to fund a fifth of this medical bill with his savings from his time in Dubai and he took a loan for the remainder from friends and family as is common in Nepal. After 5 months he was required to go to Chitwan for a follow up and the doctors found his wounds were infected and he required further surgery. He was hospitalized for another month. His medical bill for this stay was approximately $4,230. His community chipped in NRP 50,000 – approximately $600 (this kind of support is common in close knit communities in rural Nepal) and in order to pay the remainder, he borrowed more money from relatives. Two months later the hospital said they had to operate again to do a bone graft which cost a further NPR 2 lakh or $2,820. The wounds still did not heal, and the hospital asked for a further NPR60,000 or $ 720 so they could do a skin graft. He had no more money and had exhausted all his borrowing options.
Luckily, Bharat had a chance meeting with Karna, an ex-patient of NHEDF’s who was injured in the earthquake and spent two years there. He contacted them and referred Bharat. Without NHEDF this man would have died. His wounds are too graphic to show.
We hope you get better soon Bharat!
Sometimes Samrat, NHEDF’s Director, is given special presents. This is his most special – some patients did these beautiful drawings and Samrat made this short movie and set it to music.
Watch this video to experience the wonderful work of NHEDF from a patient’s perspective…and like all NHEDF’s patient stories, this is a true story….
Congratulations to Lloyd Donnelly who was the winner of our raffle – Permit No ACT R 18/00118 on Sunday night. Not only were we thrilled that Lloyd won it, as he puts so much time and effort into helping people in Nepal too but he so generously donated it back to Road to Rehab Nepal. Thank you Lloyd….
Sarvajit was living a happy life with his mother, wife and two children in Salyan in the mid-western region of Nepal. He and his wife were running a small grocery shop which was doing good business and he was able to cover the family’s monthly expenses and pay for his son’s schooling.
Two years ago. Sarvajit had the opportunity to go to Malaysia to work as a labourer. His family were happy and the dream of finally being able to ‘earn some savings’ was about to become a reality. He went to Malaysia in 2017 and after working for several months, he was able to send some money back home.
A few months later though, disaster struck. He had a work place accident and fell three stories from a building, fracturing his left arm, leg and pelvis. He was rushed to the hospital and operated on. After a month, the company he was working for advised him that they had spent all the money allocated for his treatment and cannot do anything more for him. They sent him back to Nepal.
He was admitted to Kritipur Hospital in Kathmandu where he remained for a month, before being transferred to Kathmandu Model Hospital. He began to experience increasing numbness in his left leg and another month down the track he was transferred to Manmohan Cardiac Hospital which has an orthopaedic ward. After reviewing his reports, the doctors operated on both his pelvis, leg and left arm again and was transferred to the neurology department in severe pain for further treatment before being discharged from hospital. He was asked to return every week for follow up which is very difficult when you live many miles away.
By this time, three months in different hospitals in Kathmandu had cost Sarvajit’s family about 12 lakh Nepalese rupees (US$12,000). He took loans from relatives, friends and villagers to cover his treatment as his savings were nowhere near enough. He decided that he would simply return home as they could not pay for any further treatment.
Sarvajit was on high doses of analgesia (pain killers) but after a month he could not handle the pain. Someone had told him about a special Neuro hospital, so he returned to Kathmandu hoping they could help. He borrowed more funds which were only sufficient for twelve days. He had some physio and when the money ran out, he returned home. He lasted another three months and then attended a follow-up appointment at the Manmohan Cardio hospital. This time the family decided to stay/sleep in the lobby of the hospital until his treatment was finished. They overcame their pride and began to ask for money from people at the hospital because they knew, without money, there would be no help.
Luckily for Sarvajit, he met a nurse called Chandrika who knows NHEDF very well. She coordinated with us and we happily admitted him. Now he is having good care at NHEDF. He has three meals a day, nursing care and most importantly, physiotherapy and everything is free.
Sarvajit said “People come every day to ask for money. I only have 1 ropani (= 508 sq.m ) land which worth 3 Lakh( US$ 3000). If I sell it me and my family will not have any place to live. Its better I die. I have become a big burden to my family”
We need financial support to be able to continue his treatment. Can you help?
Prakash comes from a farming family. There is just him and his elderly father. Their income is low and Prakash went to Malaysia to work as a labourer and had been there for two years. He began to feel unwell and when he returned home to visit his family he was diagnosed with aplastic anaemia. This is a condition which develops when damage occurs to your bone marrow, slowing or shutting down the production of new blood cells. Bone marrow is a red, spongy material inside your bones that produces stem cells, which give rise to other cells. Stem cells in the bone marrow produce blood cells — red cells, white cells and platelets.
Prakash was taken to hospital in Dharan. It took two weeks for his condition to be diagnosed and then he was transferred to Kathmandu which is the only place where the treatment he needed– a bone marrow transplant – is available. The hospital he was admitted to advised him that a bone marrow transplant would cost approximately US$25,000! He was referred to NHEDF who sadly, cannot afford to fund a bone marrow transplant.
Even though he does not require rehabilitation, physiotherapy or nursing care, NHEDF decided to admit him as he simply comes for his transfusion and Samrat, NHEDF’s Director was also touched by his story…. Prakash’s only other option is a blood transfusion every 10 days which NHEDF organises on his behalf.