Saturday, 23 July 2011

Rural Nepal

This past week has been full of adventure for us. On Thursday, a few more UBC students arrived who were just finished a Global Health Project in India. It gave us a good excuse to take a break and explore Nepal (or at least Patan).
We went to the Patan Durbar Square, Thamel and Asan for souvenir shopping one day and then made the 1 hour trek (by bus) to Bhaktupur Durbar Square. Bhaktupur was my favourite - it was quiet with a lot of old Nepali culture still preserved. I could have spent days wandering down the ally ways, bartering with the locals for souvenirs but we had reservations at The Hotel at the End of the Universe in Nagarkot. Nagarkot is a very small village on a hill that is famous for viewing the sunrise over the Himalyan moutains, that is, if the skies are clear. We were up at 4:30am ready to see spectacular views and drink coffee as the sun rose over Mt. Everest. Instead, we were greeted with fog so thick that you could barely see the trees growing 5ft away. I guess that is to be expected during monsoon season.

Wednesday that week we were scheduled for a tour of rural Nepal and an introduction to rural medicine, Nepal style. We went with a tour guide, a PAHS student and our flatmate, Aaron from New Zealand. It was a long day (we were picked up at 6am and dropped off at the Shalom Guesthouse at 7:30pm) and completely worth every minute of car sickness. It was about a four hour drive zig-zagging tightly up the mountains, dodging pot holes and transversing new rivers that threatened to wash out the dirt roads. We were so impressed with how Nepal is dealing with rural medicine. Like Canada, there are a shortage of doctors that want to practice in rural parts of the country and it is dificult for many people to make the trek into urban areas to seek health care. As a solution to this problem, Nepal has established a tiered system of health care starting with community volunteers. These individuals are usually woman who have basic medical training and are well equipped to deal with maternity issues. They are active participants in trying to decrease mortality due to childbirth in Nepal and they are aware of newly married couples and pregnant woman in the area so that they can ensure they are getting appropriate education and medical care. The next tier is a sub health post that is run by the community health volunteers within a certain geographical area and then a healthpost that serves larger communities. The health posts are run by nurses that run immunization programs and infectious disease awareness. They also have a small lab where cultures can be taken and blood samples tested. In this community we were also introduced to the Women Collectives, which are organizations (started by women) that lends out money to other women for medical expenses or small business loans. I really like the idea of these small communities banding together to give everyone a chance to succeed.
The next place we visited was a primary health care centre, which is large enough to accomodate inpatients. It has one full time doctor as well as nurses and is able to provide imaging and lab tests to the patients. After the primary health center comes district hospitals and then large Urban hospitals (like the one in Patan) that are equipped to deal with almost any medical concern.
This was such a great experience for us to learn how Nepal has identified a problem and how they have come up with a solution that works. I feel like Canada could learn a few things in this area of health care.
Our guide and the PAHS student were amazing - they have such an overt passion for rural medicine and a huge heart for the Nepali people. This experience has definitely been a highlight for me during my stay in Nepal.

Thursday we held another Study Skills Workshop, which was received very well by the second group of students and then Friday was the Mero Mutu Mero Kala (My Heart, My Art) contest. For those of you who do not know, this is a contest where students submit their artful interpretations of the cardiovascular system. There were many drawings, poems, painting, 3D art, photographs and even a music video. All of the submissions were amazing and it was so hard to pick a favouite. One short story left me in tears, others left me nostalgic and some made me laugh. Again, I am so impressed with the Nepali students and how they include their entire person in everything they do, nothing done lightly.


  1. If you want to see the winners of the Mero Mutu Mero Kala contest check out

  2. Nepal Trekking Planner (Plan maker of your holiday to Nepal)
    We are a small family company of qualified and very experienced guides. We are proud of the fact that between us, we speak many different languages, so, wherever you are from, we can provide a service. But in particular, we are proud of being Nepalese. Nepal is one of the most beautiful countries in the world for honeymoon holiday, family holiday, adventure holiday and many more adventure. It has some of the best trekking in the world. And the people are renowned for their hospitality. We want to show you our country and help you to enjoy it at your own speed. We can help you to think about what kind of trek would suit you best. And then, once on the trek, we can help you to really get the best out of it, whether your interest is in culture, geology, or animal and plant life. One of us will be your guide throughout the trek and previous clients have all said how much they have appreciated our support and company. Whether you are a first time trekker, unsure of what you want and needing a friendly guide, or an experienced traveler wanting to venture further into unknown Nepal, we can help you.

  3. My Metro Taxi Service is devoted to proving our clients with the most professional Detroit Airport Sedan service in the luxury transportation industry.