Over the past 5 years, we have been travelling to Nepal’s Makwanpur district to carry out Project Namtar and Project Bharta. Our goal is to empower locals to maintain a self-sustaining community through fostering good health practice and strengthening basic health-related knowledge.
Project Namtar and Project Bharta
Project Namtar is part of Medical Outreachers’ long term project in the Namtar and Kalikatar villages in Nepal’s Makwanpur district since 2016. After years of intervention, it is observed that the community has an increased level of health knowledge. Hence, a similar project - Project Bharta is launched in 2019 in hopes to improve the situation in the nearby Bharta villages. Although both projects are temporarily cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid-19, they will resume once travel restrictions are lifted.
In the previous visits, we identified various health gaps, including low access to health education, underutilization of available health services and lack of health awareness and practice.Through biannual visits, the team conducted household visits, health education in primary and secondary schools, as well as health checks and health camps. These interventions were then evaluated for their effectiveness and adjustments were made to fit the changing needs of the locals. Interventions such as assisting the establishment of student-initiated health education teams and training of local volunteers aim to encourage locals to take ownership of the health of the community. Ultimately, we hope to empower locals to maintain good health practice and foster a capable, self-sustaining community.
In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite our inability to travel and carry out Project Namtar and Project Bharta due to travel restrictions, we strive to continue serving the Nepali people through the recent launch of Project Binda - a new fundraising campaign designed to fund the works of Binda, a local nurse, as well as other local health workers in Nepal during our absence. The campaign is a one-month program targeted towards residential Nepali in Hong Kong. Every week, we are performing a series of themed health services for our Nepali friends in Hong Kong, which include basic health checks, themed health education talks and medical consultation by different medical professionals in Hong Kong.
Despite having improved local hygiene previously, COVID-19 has introduced new challenges to the local community. Only 8.5% out of 23500 Nepali are vaccinated in Namtar, Bharta and other regions of Binda’s province, and only 5% of them have access to masks. Through documenting our services and providing weekly updates on our Instagram page, we hope to seek donations from the general public, thus enabling us to fund the operations of Binda’s local health post and the purchase of medical supplies. We hope that these donations, albeit not directly replacing our usual services, can be a temporary substitute, thereby maintaining the sustainability of our previous interventions in Nepal.