Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Adapted from the Nyaya Health website and an article by Kong Yen Lin in this week's Nepali Times:
On June 15, Bayalpata Hospital, which has been shut for 30 years due to political turmoil and violence, reopens with the aim of fighting maternal mortality in a district where one in every 250 women die from pregnancy complications and illegal abortions.
Established by Nyaya Health NGO, the eight-building complex will have a clinic for maternal and child health and a women's ward for abortions and deliveries. The team of 40 will include two doctors, rotating surgeons and gynaecologists. There will be a 24-hour free delivery service and caesarean section operating unit.
"Our goal is to ensure that no mother should die from delivery related difficulties," says Medical Director Jhapat Thapa, "And locals won't have to pay for more costly health care in India or Dhangadi."
While government hospitals charge about Nepali rupees 1,000 to 3,000 for safe abortions, Bayalpata hospital is planning to offer the service for free, in a bid to reduce illegal, often lethal, procedures.
While the STD infection rate is estimated to be 0.5 per cent nationally, that of Accham is 20 times more because of the high percentage of migrant workers. According to ASHA, another NGO offering HIV support, 70 per cent of the infected are women. Bayalpata will provide anti-retroviral therapy and drug treatments preventing mother to child transmission.
With chronic shortages of water, food and power and frequent highway bandas delaying supplies in Accham, Bayalpata's goals seem ambitious. But health workers are optimistic by contrast with the conflict years when frequent raids and extortions kept many hospitals closed.