HELP FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT AFFORD TO HELP THEMSELVES
Of course, we also support villagers in medical terms. The nearest hospital in Bharatpur is up to 50 km away, deepening on the location of the village, and the families are so poor that they cannot afford to pay for transportation, consultations of a doctors or necessary medication. Unfortunately, in Nepal, medicine is often so expensive that they are even hardly affordable for middle-class people. In addition to the individual help in emergency cases, we regularly organize such called “health camps” for which we hire both general practitioners and gynaecologists. During these health camps the villagers can, often for the first time in their lives, get medically examined and, if necessary, receive medication for further treatment.
When going to school also means to be healthy
We regularly conduct health camps at our project schools in Chitwan to keep an eye on the state of health of the children we support. In total, more than 1,200 children benefit from this offer. The health camps are very appreciated by the parents since they could never afford necessary medication for a medical condition of their children.
During one of our health camps in October 2015 a team of two paediatricians and a pharmacist visited each of our 5 project schools in Chitwan and examined a total of 793 children. As a precautionary measure, they already brought the medicine they possibly needed to be able to prescribe and administer it directly. Most illnesses were stomach and skin problems as well as external abscesses. During the examinations, the teachers and our team talked with the children about all aspects of hygiene, in particular that ignoring these aspects could put them at severe risks for their health.
If more laboratory tests are in need in cases of severe medical findings, we will get those done by experts at healthcare centres and, if necessary, take care of the transportation of the child to a hospital. Of course, the incurring costs are covered by Back to Life.
This time, our doctors noticed Sanjila from the 5th grade of the Dubichaur school. She complained about heart problems. The young girl suffered from tachycardia (fast beating heart) and breathing problems. After the diagnosis, it quickly became clear that a thorough examination was needed at the hospital of Bharatpur. Our team stood by her side while experts from cardiology, echocardiography and haematology examined her. The diagnosis showed that Sanjila suffers from rheumatic heart disease. In her case it means that she has a heart valve defect and a “leaky” heart valve. The cardiologist explained: ‘Good that she was brought here in time. In some cases, not treating this problem can be life threatening.” For the upcoming six months, Sanjila needs to take medication and will then be re-examined by the team of experts.
The health check in Bharatpur took a whole week. Again, we covered all incurring costs. After another week, our employee Anjan visited the girl at home: The family of seven of Sanjila can hardly keep themselves financially “above water”. The harvest of the field does not yield enough and thus her father is forced to earn money by working in Qatar. For a high price: The family is permanently separated from each other, the mother has to take care of everything. But at least, Sanjila has no more heart problems. “Since I take the medicine, I’m fine!” she happily told Anjan. The mother was completely oblivious of how sick her daughter was until the examination: “She never said anything. How can poor people like us know that she is seriously ill? Thank you, Back to Life, for your help. We could have never afforded the examination nor the medication.”
In fact, destitute people in Chitwan tend to rely on fate in the hope that they eventually feel better. So, it is not uncommon that people do not talk about their health problems until they have become bedridden. Fortunately, there were no more cases of serious illnesses among the children back in October 2015, even though we had taken 21 children to a hospital for more tests.
Compared to previous years, the correlation between health and hygiene is much better understood by the villagers of our project areas. This is a direct result of our efforts and measures, which include distributing medication against parasitic worm infections to children every 6 months. The doctors of our health camps, who have been accompanying us since several years, confirm this. They have noticed a significant decrease in skin and stomach diseases – and these are usually directly related to hygiene. We are very happy that we were able to significantly reduce the number of serious illnesses among the children.