Field Report from Dr. Keidan in Khotang, Nepal

From: Richard Keidan, MD
Sent: Tuesday, April 03, 2012 6:48 AM

UPDATE: KHOTANG TRIP MARCH 2012

The recent trip to Khotang has been amazing. Our relationships with the two local Nepalese ngo’s are both going great (CPS, and the Dipsung ngo). Furthermore, we went with two individuals with masters in public health from the Nepal Public Health Foundation- Namita and Janak. They were both fantastic, very excited to be part of the process, and will be helping us with our long term health plan in Khotang. We will also explore with Janak whether we can send public health students from Little Buddha College to Khotang for the purposes of research and teaching.

We met with the district hospital in Diktel again, and I will be sending them a letter to initiate the process of formally working together. This will involve the ministry of health, so our work will be coordinated appropriately between the hospital and the government. They listed several priorities , including the need for another ambulance (there are roads in the diktel vicinity), a vehicle for transportation of medical supplies, and converting their current 15 bed hospital into a 50 bed hospital (mandated by the government by the year 2015). When we continue down this path, we must keep in mind that the district hospital in Diktel has access for only 30,000 people (defined as being accessible within one hour), where the district has over 250,000 people.

The Dipsung ngo has been working with CPS as they proceed with the Dipsung Toilet Project. Cps is very encouraged by their participation and their experience. They feel they will be able to manage some of their own projects, and are willing to help them as needed. The Dipsung ngo has given us a proposal to build a sub health post in Dipsung. The current facility is not adequate, and is temporarily housed in the vdc building. I will have this proposal reviewed by the MLNFHE board, and I strongly support this project.

CPS also submitted three other proposals, which are all very worthy in my estimation. They have requested rebuilding the Rakha sub health post, which was ruined by last years earthquake. I would propose we do this after the Dispung sub health post construction is completed. They have proposed another toilet project involving some wards in both Rakha and Sungdel (this project combined both sites would be about two thirds the size of the Dipsung toilet project). If approved, I suggest we initiate this project only after the first toilet project is completed (after the monsoon, probably October 2012). Lastly, they submitted a proposal for a scholarship to train a mid level health care worker starting july 2012. I was so pleased by this request, because it is so much in tune with one of our major priorities. The position would be for someone who has completed class 10 (grade 10), and is an 18 month course. This individual would then go back to their village health post. We would request a 5 year obligation, obviously hoping they would stay indefinitely. I have stressed the MLNFHE wants this scholarship for female candidates. This being multifactorial, but I firmly believe women are better suited for this work, have been traditionally discriminated against, and are more likely to stay in their village taking care of their family and friends….

The sub health post in Sungdel is currently being constructed by our mentor foundation, Dzi Foundation. We toured the partially constructed building, and It looks great. The health worker at Sungdel has submitted a proposal to MLNFHE for help with increasing the capacitance, equipment, staffing, supplies, etc….. I will discuss this with Ben Ayers at Dzi, but it looks like a great opportunity for us to help.

All proposals mentioned above are in Nepalese, and are going to be translated for us by Namgyal’s office staff. I will submit them to the board of directors when available.

I believe all are extremely worthy projects, within the scope of MLNFHE, and within our current budget.

As mentioned above, the Dispsung Toilet Project should be completed by October 2012. We toured several units, and the project is about 60% completed. The construction looks great! It is so exciting to look down over the hillsides and see aluminum roofs everywhere! Diana and Ben , along with the Finkel family, are the donors for this project. I know they would be very proud.

CPS informed me they may be under budget for the toilet project! They wanted to know what to do with the extra money left over. What integrity this shows on their behalf! I told them that we would go over the audit upon completion, and make a decision if indeed we had excess funds.

The Rakha Hydroelectric Project is completed (MLNFHE and Dzi had a matching funds arrangement). I did not have a chance to tour the project. We are currently awaiting the engineers, and Rakha should “be wired” within 3 months.

I had a visited with one of the children we are sponsoring in school, and am happy to say that all is well.

The government has not been following through with the school construction on the land we bought in Dipru. I am please to say that I was informed the Dzi Foundation has taken over the construction phase of this project.

When I return to Kathmandu, I will check to see if we could obtain appropriate documents to enable us to sponsor the two additional children from western Nepal that my niece Gayle was trying to arrange.

I hope this catches everyone up. I am currently in Namche Bazaar, taking advantage of the first computer access in 17 days. The trip has been so productive. I have never been so excited about our work.

Now it will be 5 days of just pleasure trekking with my niece Gayle. Then a flight back from Lukla to Kathmandu, and heading home two days later (to start raising money for the above!!).

Miles had a dream of making an impact. Thanks to the hard work of the MLNFHE board of directors , our dedicated cadre of volunteers, and our generous donors, his dream has become a reality.

I thank you….