Over the past 6 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 has been one of the ongoing projects of Medical Outreachers in the Namtar and Kalikatar villages in Makwanpur, Nepal since 2016. With our steady progress of improving health awareness in Namtar, Project Bharta was launched in 2019 aiming to expand our service coverage to the less developed Bharta villages. After the suspension of both projects in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemics, we are more than grateful for having the opportunity to resume our biannual visits in January and June 2023, reconnecting with the local community while working on the region’s pre-existing and newly raised health issues.
In previous trips, we have identified major local health gaps, such as low health awareness among villagers, the underutilization of health services, and the lack of health education in schools. Hence, interventions such as household visits and resource distribution, school health education and health checks, as well as large-scale health camps with doctor consultation and medication provision, are carried out to tackle these health issues. Through data collection and analysis, the efficacy of our interventions can be evaluated, while also identifying new health issues in the community, such that our services and health curriculum can be tailored to target villagers’ specific health needs. To ensure sustainability, we provide essential materials and free health services to address economic limitations while encouraging economically sustainable improvements to health practices. Collaborating with local NGOs further allows us to keep track of local progress and promote progressive improvements in local health practices. Our ultimate goal is for the community to have a substantially raised health awareness and practice, and for our endeavours to become self-sufficient amongst locals.
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.