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Hospital Transformation in Nepal

12 October, 2009

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Voice 1

Hello. I’m Mike Procter.

Voice 2

And I’m Marina Santee. Welcome to Spotlight. This programme uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1

The sound of a new–born baby. The young medical worker quickly puts the baby under a bright, warm light. Then, she holds it by its feet, and weighs it. After this, she passes the baby to the grandmother’s arms. The medical worker turns to the mother again. There is more work to do! The mother is in a lot of pain still. But now, there is a smile behind her pain. She has given birth to her first baby – a beautiful, healthy child.

Voice 2

A few years ago, new mothers like Durga struggled here. Durga lives in a countryside area near Lamjung, west central Nepal. It is not easy to reach a hospital in a countryside area. And in the past, many sick people chose not to make the long trip to Lamjung. This was because local people did not trust the hospital. They used to say it was ‘the place to go to die.’ The hospital was poorly managed. There was a lack of equipment and supplies. It was dirty. Animals walked freely in and out. The government employed doctors and nurses to work there. But they did not like working in such a poor environment. So, they used to sign their names on the attendance paper, to get their pay. Then they left. Often, only the office boy remained at the hospital. There was little he could do to help sick people. He could give them weak pain–killing drugs. But these were not enough. And so the hospital remained empty most of the time. Only two or three patients came each week.

Voice 1

Walk into Lamjung hospital today. Now, you will see a very different picture. The white, clean walls and floors shine! Doctors and nurses move around busily. Patients wait in line for treatment. Over one hundred patients come each week to the hospital. So what happened to create such a great change? In today’s programme, we will tell us how Lamjung became the hospital it is today.

Voice 2

Some people say that tragic events can have one of two effects. They can create more tragedy. Or, they can lead people to positive action. Tirtha Thapa, chose to act positively after a tragic event in his life. Tirtha grew up in Lamjung. He was just fifteen [15] years old when his father died. At the time, Tirtha did not really understand the cause of his father’s death. But he knew that he wanted to do something to prevent the deaths of other people. He said;

Voice 3

‘When my father died I felt that we should have a good hospital in Lamjung. I was fifteen. Since that time this idea was in my head.’

Voice 2

As time passed, Tirtha learned more about his father’s sickness and death. This increased his desire to improve the hospital in Lamjung. Tirtha explained;

Voice 3

‘My father had a very common urine infection. He should have drank plenty of water to help him recover. But the medical worker told him not to drink any water. The worker said then my father would not suffer – he would not have to use the toilet all the time. But he became more sick.

Later, I understood that with the right advice, my father would have lived. So, it became clear to me that we should do something. We needed a good hospital in Lamjung.’

Voice 2

Tirtha was prepared to work hard to make this happen. He considered training as a medical doctor himself. But medical training is costly, and Tirtha did not have the money. So instead he went to work for a Christian development organisation in Kathmandu. The organisation was called Human Development and Community Services – or HDCS. However, the idea for a good hospital remained in Tirtha’s mind and heart. And he prayed that one day it would happen.

Voice 1

However, it was not until fifteen [15] years later that he got the chance. By this time Tirtha was the chief of HDCS. Lamjung community leaders came to talk to Tirtha. They had seen some of the good work that Christian groups were doing with hospitals in Nepal. They knew that Tirtha had good connections with Christian organisations. So they asked Tirtha if HDCS could help to improve Lamjung hospital. Tirtha agreed.

Voice 2

The HDCS team worked very hard to clean and improve Lamjung hospital. And, the Lamjung community leaders were extremely pleased with the results. So much so, that they asked HDCS to come and manage the hospital completely!

Voice 1

To do this, HDCS needed to go through several processes. It was not easy. They collected letters from the local people and the local government. These letters expressed the local people’s desires. HDCS presented the letters to the health authority. The authority’s decision came two years later, in 2001. At last, HDCS signed an agreement with the government to manage Lamjung Hospital.

Voice 2

HDCS began work straight away. They worked closely with the Lamjung community. They trained local people to work in the hospital. They wanted the community to own the hospital. This way, the care and work would continue into the future. Together they formed plans to improve and change the hospital. They changed all the work surfaces and floors to tiles. These hard surfaces were much easier to keep clean than the old floors. Then HDCS workers extended the children’s area. And they built a special area for new mothers! They brought in new beds for patients. And after only a few months, the hospital was full! The word soon spread that Lamjung hospital had changed. It had become a clean, caring place. It had good, well trained workers. There was a good working environment. So hospital workers wanted to stay! Rashmi KC is one of the medical nurses at Lamjung today. She is twenty–two [22] years old. She said;

Voice 1

‘I became a medical worker to serve people, and to serve God. We have a good working environment here.’

Voice 2

The purpose statement of Lamjung hospital today is: ‘to be living witnesses of God’s love – and to give quality health services.’

Voice 1

Today, people travel for many hours to reach Lamjung hospital. They even come from other districts, where they have their own hospitals! This is because they know they will receive better treatment at Lamjung. Lamjung hospital is no longer a place where people go to die. Today, it is a place where people go to live.

Voice 1

The writer and producer of today’s programme was Marina Santee. The voices you heard were from the United Kingdom. All quotations were adapted for this programme. Computer users can find our programmes on our website at http://www.radio.english.net. This programme is called, ‘Hospital Transformation in Nepal.’

Voice 2

If you have comments or questions about any Spotlight programmes, you can reach us by e-mail. Our address is radio @ english . net. Thank you for joining us in today’s Spotlight programme. Until next time, goodbye.

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