In 2009, the Castle pledged £6000 to Community Action Nepal (CAN) towards the development of a health outpost in Ghap, Nepal as part of our 2009 Environmental Awards. But, we were never able to send this money as the project, following a trial, was never realised because there were too few patients to make it viable. However, we've been keeping up with the good work that CAN are doing and we are very pleased to send them the pledged funds for the management and upkeep of the other health outposts that they are now managing.
Following on from the success of the purpose-built health post in Lihi, the government and local people have asked CAN to take over all the health provision in North Gorkha accepting responsibility for four more health posts in Sama, Lho, Prok and Bihi. Unfortunately, the conditions in these four existing health posts is far below standard. The map below shows where Lho is.
A CAN volunteer doctor has recently returned from a visit to North Gorkha and submitted a report. She has previously done voluntary work at many other CAN health posts and is well aware of the standard CAN requires. The following comments are an extract regarding the condition of the Lho health post.
The HP [health post] is a small 3 roomed building which is very cramped. The clinic room is very dark.
There are no security bars or glass/plastic in the windows, hence the break-ins and bystanders lean in through the window while consultations are in progress. The wooden shutters are now broken since the break-in.
The roof of the HP leaks and snow and rain falls on the nurses’ beds and patient couch.
The kitchen is very cold and windy as the unsealed stone walls and rough shutters without plastic let the wind, rain and snow whistle through.
Water freezes on the floor and in the kettle and water container.
The ‘short toilet’ is a windy gap between two buildings, in front of which the nurses have rigged a curtain for modesty purposes. The ‘long toilet’ is a rickety shack on the steep side of the drop down to the path below, which in the snow was very dangerous and not possible to use. The nurses were using the neighbour’s toilet which was rife with tapeworm. There is no washroom or bathroom for the nurses.
There is good solar light at Lho HP nurses can charge their mobile phones at Lho HP.
The kitchen equipment is of poor quality and inadequate.
There is no ophthalmoscope or auroscope.
Work could start on rebuilding Lho using recycling any reusable materials salvaged from the existing building as soon as they have the funds to purchase new materials and have them carried in. The weather is ideal now and for the next eight months, until the intense winter cold sets in. This area is just below the peaks marking the Nepalese/Tibetan frontier.
The total cost of the rebuild including the fitting out within is £16,400. The Castle grant of £6000 would enable CAN to get the Lho HP watertight, windproof and insulated.
To find out more about CAN, including how to support the many, many projects they run please visit their website: www.canepal.org.uk