Back to Dhading
We rose early in the morning and split up into two teams, our team headed west to Dhading while the other headed east to Sindhupalchowk to visit another hospital run by the same man who showed us the Manehan Hospital south of Kathmandu yesterday. In Dahding MTI has identified a local NGO by the name of Shanty Nepal to partner with on a long term project of providing help in the areas of improvement in maternal and child health, hygiene and capacity building. Our goal was to visit some health posts in this remote area to see the extent of the damage and their medical needs.
There are several Village Community Districts or VCDs that are of interest to MTI. We met with a Shanti Nepal representative who took us to Dohla up in the mountain. He first told us that there were two routes; a short cut of 15 km and a longer one of 25 km. We asked if the short cut was a difficult one as we would have preferred to spend a longer time traveling on an easier route. However he chose the shorter route. Soon we encountered rocks on the narrow dirt road which we had to pick up in order to pass. Then after a few minutes, our wheels got stuck in the deep ruts filled with water and mud, there was a loud bang and the vehicle came to an abrupt stop. One of its front wheels was hanging off the road, fortunately we were not at a cliff, and instead it was a corn field three feet below.
Up in this remote area, Shanti Nepal man called for help but we had to wait for almost two hours before a truck came. After the rope that was used to pull our vehicle snapped several times, we finally were able to get it unstuck. The trip up the mountain was even more hazardous than the previous roads that we had traveled. Our driver had to pick his way very carefully between the deep ruts and also had to contend with the narrowness of the road and the deep cliff on one side. On the so-called short-cut, it took us three hours to get to the health post. Some of the farm houses are destroyed and the villagers have not received any tents for shelters. Shanti Nepal representative promised them he would return with tents.
The health post sustained cracks in the wall but as it is a 15-year-old structure, termites has destroyed some of the wooden windows. We met the doctor in charge, the midwife and nurses. It seems that they have enough personnel to run their program but will need help to rebuild their health post. As regards hygiene, the villagers have to walk 30 minutes to get their water. Clinic is only open from 10 am to 2 pm. We reached the health post in the mid-afternoon, by then everyone was gone. There was distribution of food right behind the health post where many villagers gathered to receive a sack of rice. It seems very likely that this health post will receive long-term help from MTI.
Because we were stuck in the mud for quite a while, we could not go on further uphill to visit a second health post.So we headed downhill and this time we took the long route through villages where we saw two trucks delivering food.The long route only took us one hour before we finally got back to Dhading Besi, the capital of Dhading District.All day we had no lunch but only snacked on granola bars and water.
We finally checked in Hotel Himalaya up on the fifth floor, not a good place to be considering that aftershocks are still occurring daily. Someone in the group noticed a big crack in one of the walls as we walked up the stairs. We have brought our tents and sleeping bags but have not found a suitable and safe camping place to sleep. In reading the proposal by Shanti Nepal, we learned that only 50 % of the district population goes to health post for their medical care, 20% frequents private care and the rest seeks traditional care. Poverty forces the villagers to continue to eke out a living from farming even if they are sick. The society being a patriarchal one, women are not usually given the right to seek medical attention. These might be some of the reasons why we are not seeing many patients. Although up in Fulpinkitta, there was quite a gathering of villagers who could probably be seen by us but our team thought that the healthcare person could handle them. There were no persons who seem to require urgent care.