Please help us build our desperately needed
Mothers and Babies Hospital in rural Nepal!
A4WH Mothers and Babies Hospital
Dolakha region following the April earthquake.
Medical clinic in Dolakha following the May earthquake.
Temporary Tent Hospital.
A successful caesarean section in the blue operating tent (above).A4WH is delighted to announce that we will soon be building a Mothers and Babies Hospital in Charikot, Nepal.
The hospital will be constructed on the site where medical teams have been working in tents following the devastating earthquakes earlier this year. The hospital will provide critical medical care to those in need.
In addition the hospital will become a major teaching centre for doctors, nurses and midwives. The hospital will also be the base for an extensive Community Health program, providing essential public health measures and medical research in the region. All funding for the construction of the hospital will come from public donations.
Rotary Australia, and in particular the Rotary Club of Port Macquarie have been extremely helpful in assistance with this project.
Through Rotary, all donations to assist with the construction of the hospital are now tax deductible.
Please support this project by donating to our hospital construction. Buy a brick, and we’ll engrave your name on the brick or on a tile within the hospital. Come and visit us once the hospital is built, and find your name among the names of the other donors. We really can make a major difference to the health of the underprivileged women of Nepal.
Earlier this year the team at A4WH identified the crucial need for a hospital in north-east Nepal. Limited medical and surgical services in Charikot were being provided in a very run-down, dilapidated building. Overcrowding and potential cross infection were major problems.
The devastating earthquakes in Nepal of April and May of this year left more than 8150 dead and tens of thousands injured. The existing hospital building in Dolakha has been largely destroyed and it has not been possible to continue to use this facility.
Medical teams have been continuing their life-saving work with very limited infrastructure in basic tents.
Do You Really Want to Help in Nepal?
Despite the devastation and the horrors of the recent earthquake in Nepal, the situation will worsen in the weeks to come. Experience from other international natural disasters shows us that in the weeks following the event supplies of medicine, food and water become scarcer, water-borne diseases proliferate, hospitals become more overwhelmed as those in makeshift shelters succumb to exposure and disease.
Valuable lessons have been learnt from recent natural disasters including the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The massive scale and complexity of these disasters exceeded the capacity of any single agency. The voluntary nature of the international humanitarian system led to a lack of coordinated response, a lack of predictable leadership, and inadequate accountability. Disparate groups of well-intentioned do-gooders flooded the affected countries in an effort to assist the crises, however many lacked the skills and experience and coordination to provide any effective assistance. In fact there were many cases where well-meaning but inexperienced volunteers led to hindering of aid efforts.
In the aftermath of a large scale disaster, such poor logistical relief efforts involving distribution of goods and services are frequently called “the second disaster”. We must do everything we can to avoid this second disaster in Nepal.
We sit back and watch the news coverage of the horrendous scenes of death and despair in Nepal, and many of us feel overwhelmed with helplessness and guilt and the pressing need to help. The worst thing you can do right now is to simply travel to Nepal unannounced and expect to provide useful aid. The single international airport in Nepal, which itself has sustained damage is at full capacity. The airport is required for emergency aid supplies and for transport of victims and qualified, coordinated relief workers. If you are intending to travel to Nepal to assist in the emergency, in almost all cases it would be far more helpful to delay your trip for at least the next few weeks, and to join a reliable international relief agency.
You’d rather donate clothing and blankets to the thousands in need in Nepal? Don’t make this mistake either. Postal and delivery services are desperately inadequate in Nepal, and few functioning distribution channels must prioritise essential supplies like medicine, food and water. If you do have clothes and other goods to donate, sell these at home and donate the proceeds to a reliable charity.
Unfortunately many of us are cynical regarding cash donations to charities and other aid organisations. And in the wake of a major disaster people are inundated with pleas for aid via telemarketers, social media and email. While the majority of these requests are from legitimate organisations, there are a number of scammers and inefficient charities pursuing our money. Be very wary of those seeking donations over the phone, and exercise caution with social media and email requests for aid.
Who do you trust then? How do you recognise a trustworthy, reliable relief organisation? The best charitable organisations keep administrative and overhead costs low, ideally below 20 per cent of total funds donated; accounts are transparent; and corporate governance is highly principled. There are some very useful websites listing the best charities involved in relief efforts with extensive expert reviews.
Nepal desperately needs our help. We need to provide this help in the most effective and efficient ways possible. Do not turn your back on this country in this time of anguish and distress and critical need for assistance. Help the Nepalese people, but help them in ways that can provide the greatest humanitarian impact.
Dr Ray Hodgson
Australians for Women’s Health
A4WH has now selected the site of the hospital
it will construct in Nepal. During the December camp Dr Hodgson inspected several potential sites in rural and remote Nepal for the hospital to determine the area of greatest need. The hospital will be constructed in the foothills of the Himalayas, in the district of Dolakha. It is anticipated that this hospital will provide a base for A4WH teaching of local doctors, nurses, midwives and paramedical health workers. Plans are currently underway for the hospital. Construction will recruit as many Nepalese workers and local materials as possible to further boost the local economy. The whole A4WH team are very excited about the prospects of this new venture.
Dr Sahar Pakmehr, an Australian obstetrics & gynaecology registrar joined A4WH for her first trip to Nepal. Dr Pakmehr provided several valuable lectures to trainee Nepalese doctors at Dhulikhel Hospital. These lectures were very well received and they will contribute to the increasing standards of medical care in Nepal.
June / July 2014
This camp was another highly successful one. Many women underwent surgical correction of their advanced pelvic organ prolapse in Eastern Nepal and Dr Hodgson provided valuable teaching of these techniques to Nepalese gynaecology surgeons. Many of these surgeons are now able to perform operations themselves for women suffering from prolapse of the uterus, bladder and bowel. An important part of the philosophy of A4WH is to empower local Nepalese medical teams to provide medical and surgical care independently. We are now well on the way to achieving this aim.
Dr Hodgson also began discussions for the next major A4WH project: the construction of a hospital in remote Nepal. This exciting development will provide an invaluable facility in an area of need in Nepal. The site of the proposed hospital will be chosen later in the year.
September / October 2013
Dr Marcus Carey joined the A4WH team for
this camp. Dr Carey is a Melbourne-based urogynaecologist with an outstanding international reputation. He provided enormous assistance in teaching local Nepalese gynaecology surgeons on the latest techniques in pelvic floor surgery. In addition to practical demonstrations, Dr Carey undertook lectures for Nepalese surgeons at The Institute of Medicine in Kathmandu. He discussed the challenging topic of the surgical management of vaginal vault prolapse.
Dr Hodgson provided teaching to several local Nepalese surgeons in remote eastern Nepal where a uterine prolapse camp was held. These surgeons are now able to provide independent surgical care to many women suffering with basic forms of pelvic organ prolapse.
The surgical lectures and practical demonstrations were very warmly received and on future trips Dr Carey and Dr Hodgson will provide further practical teaching to allow more complex pelvic floor procedures to be performed by local Nepal gynaecology surgeons. Australian volunteer nurses will provide teaching to local Nepalese nursing theatre and ward staff to deliver high standards of nursing care to the women undergoing this surgery.
A pathology and physiotherapy training camp was held at Dhulikhel Hospital. Dr Hodgson was joined by Dr Sandy McColl, head of the University of NSW Rural Medical School at Port Macquarie. Dr McColl provided training in pathology and clinical aspects of physiotherapy to local Nepalese medical and physiotherapy students. This is likely to become a regular teaching event. Dr Hodgson undertook clinical assessment of a number of patients suffering with severe genital prolapse and fistulae in preparation for the next surgical camp in Nepal. This camp will take place in September and October 2013.
A successful prolapse and incontinence camp took place at Dhulikhel Hospital. 18 demonstration surgical procedures were performed on women with severe forms of uterine and vaginal prolapse and urinary incontinence. Dr Hodgson also provided several surgical lectures to Kathmandu University professors, surgeons and nursing staff.
A three week gynaecology screening and ultrasound training camp was based in the district of Kaski in western Nepal. A4WH provided a group of ten volunteer workers including two nurses,
two ultrasonographers, three doctors, and three ancillary workers.
The March 2011 Prolapse Treatment Camp was based in Solu Hospital in the district of Solukhumbu, Nepal. Two surgeons, two anaesthetists, two theatre nurses and an ancillary worker spent two weeks providing surgery and education
to women suffering with prolapse and incontinence.
Solu Hospital is a small institution built by Sir Edmund Hillary in 1974. The hospital has no regular operating functionality and all equipment and medications were provided by A4WH.
This camp was based in Dhulikhel Hospital, Nepal. A4WH volunteer surgeons undertook training of local gynaecology surgeons in techniques of prolapse and incontinence surgery. New surgical procedures including urethral sling insertion for urinary incontinence were introduced to the hospital.
A4WH is grateful to the Ramsay Health for donations of medical supplies for this surgical camp.
503 women were screened for prolapse and other conditions. 83 operations performed on a total of 37 women. 81 of these operations were for treatment of prolapse or urinary incontinence. Two local Nepalese gynaecology surgeons and four local nursing staff underwent surgical training during the camp. Pre-operative Quality of Life Surveys were performed for all women undergoing surgery; the surveys were followed up for these women at six and twelve months’ intervals.
1015 patients were screened and treated for a wide range of gynaecological conditions. Eight Nepalese midwives were trained in the skills of obstetric ultrasound. A4WH staff delivered three further gynaecology lectures to the medical staff at Dhulikhel Hospital.