A FRIEND RETURNS TO JUNBESI
Friend of Junbesi Ralph Snowdon of Canberra, Australia, spent 2 weeks in Junbesi from 13 to 26 November 2012. Here are some of his impressions relating to Kushudebu Public Health Mission (KPHM).
“Immediately, I noticed significant progress. Empty rooms with cement floors in April 2011 have now evolved into 3 rooms â€“ partitioned and furnished as a delivery room, adjacent maternity consulting room and a small hospital ward that holds 3 beds. Outside, a couple of workmen were rendering walls with cement. I then walked into a very well stocked pharmacy.
I had time for many visits to KPHM and witnessed, first hand, the treatment of patients â€“ from local mums with sick kids to a monk with a troublesome corn on his foot, to a very elderly monk from Thuptenchholing who somehow walked to KPHM despite severe abdominal pains and no food for 5 days.Â The doctor stabilized his condition and kept him on site for further observation.Â
There were a few public holidays during the fortnight, so there were some relatively a quieter days at KPHM. This enabled a few long conversations, over cups of tea, with staff, including Dr Krishna Niraula and Nurse Tashi Sherpa. Krishna is a local Solukhumbu man and is about half way through his current contract. He told me he had been in 43 of the 75 districts in Nepal and has varied health delivery experience, including at district hospitals, health posts and even mobile health facilities. Both Krishna and Nurse Tashi said to me the services at KPHM are quite exceptional for an isolated region and many communities in the Solukhumbu and elsewhere in Nepal do not enjoy such good facilities, as:
- Access to a doctor and nurses living on site
- A pharmacy with over 180 medicines
- An X-ray machine with small dark room
- A laboratory with microscope enabling some blood tests and cultures
- An autoclave machine and
- A birthing centre.
I was impressed also by the management structures and systems in place, including enabling the local community to have constructive input to the President and the Board in Kathmandu and to the ongoing successful administration of KPHM. Chungba Lama is Head Teacher of the Junbesi School (where both he and Ang were educated, by the way) and is Chair of the Local Management Committee of KPHM. Dr Krishna is Secretary and other local people have roles, including Chepal Sherpa. The Local Management Committee meets on the 30th of each month at KPHM. One day at KPHM, Dr Krishna and Chepal unfurled a large poster depicting an English language version of the KPHM Charter. The Charter outlines 13 areas of health delivery and is a critical planning document for KPHM. A Nepali language version of the Charter is displayed on the KPHM Noticeboard for the benefit of the local community.
I was fortunate to also have a few long conversations with Chungba Lama and also to attend a few Junbesi School morning assemblies.Â I counted nearly 180 children, there, one morning. Very kind donors’ home in Australia enabled me to transport 38 kilograms of baby and children’s clothing to Junbesi*. Chepal and 2 teachers distributed the majority of the clothing at Junbesi School. Several kilograms of small baby clothing, baby blankets and tiny sleeping bags were kept aside and are now stored at the birthing centre at KPHM.
I had time to speak with a lot of other people in the area, including:
- The Rinpoche of Serlo Monastery,
- Head lamas and nuns at both Thuptenchholing and Phugmoche Monasteries,
- Teachers at Junbesi School and the Head Teacher at Phugmoche School,
- Long time residents of Junbesi,
- Several members of the local branch of the Himalayan Yeti Club, and
- Local people who just stopped me in the lane ways of Junbesi.
All of these people expressed their pride in KPHM and extolled its value as a community asset. The Rinpoche of Serlo Monastery and all others expressed their thanks to me for our support. So, I pass on the thanks of the wider Junbesi community and monastic communities to all sponsors, Friends and donors for making KPHM a success story.”
*Ralph acknowledges the kind assistance of the Embassy of Nepal, Canberra, Australia with representations concerning excess baggage allowances.
Ralph is happy to answer any questions. Email : email@example.com