Nepal - “I was at home massaging my 4-old-month baby when the first earthquake hit. I remember the day quite vaguely. I remember that the wall of my house started to collapse and next thing I know I was on a bamboo stretcher and I can hear my baby was crying so hard. My husband told me that he had me and my baby rescued from the house and immediately built a makeshift stretcher then took us to the hospital on foot. It took us 5 hours to get to the closest hospital which is Dhulikhel hospital,” said Bimala Majhi, a 22-year-old mother of two daughters.
Bimala Majhi is a resident of Sindhupalchowk district and is among 2,100 earthquake-injured patients accounted for in Sindhupalchowk (Government of Nepal, 2015) who need intensive rehabilitation, including physiotherapy, nursing care, psychosocial support and assistance to transition back into the community.
“I have spent two months in bed in the hospital and when I was finally discharged, the doctor told me that I still need to do follow-up therapy if I want to be able to walk normally again. Unfortunately, with the distance and having no transportation means, I can’t afford to go back and forth to the hospital for my follow-up therapy,” added Bimala.
“At first I was crushed. Not only have I had my bones broken but also my spirit. I thought how can I function as a wife and as a mother? Does it mean that I can’t go back farming? While I was going through all these questions in my head, my husband told me that things will get better. He told me that he just heard information on the radio about a free facility that provides services to patients with sustained earthquake-related injuries and disabilities in Sindhupalchowk district to help them get ready to go back to their daily lives,’” said Bimala with a smile on her face.
About a month ago, Bimala’s husband heard on the radio about the Injury Rehabilitation Unit, a step down care facility built by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and its partner, AmeriCares, as part as its relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction program in the affected areas. Bimala and her husband immediately contacted IOM’s hotline service. IOM’s health team then conducted a thorough assessment for Bimala and she was admitted to the facility.
“Bimala’s condition has improved a lot compared to the day she was admitted. She can now walk only using one crutch. It is possible that in less than a month, she is ready to go back to her family,” stated Tenzing Norbu Lama, Senior Physiotherapist of the facility.
“Aside from the physiotherapy, Bimala also attends the regular psychosocial counselling where, through these counselling sessions, Bimala is able to overcome her emotional distress from the earthquakes. Moreover, Bimala as well as other patients are given motivational sessions to boost their confidence and give them a better idea on how they can resume their normal daily activities,” added Gyanu Maya Magar, Psychosocial Counsellor.
“Given that most health facilities in the district were heavily damaged or destroyed, most of the injured people have no chance to receive the care that they need as close to their home as possible. Thus, , most of these people have also missed their opportunity to recover fast and to go back to their normal daily activities. Now that we have this facility, we can provide these injured people with intensive rehabilitative care, including physiotherapy and nursing care, as well as psychosocial support and assistance to transition back into the community,” stated Ashika Singh, Facility Manager.
“All staff, from the paramedics, nurses, physiotherapists, psychosocial counsellor to the kitchen staff are working hard to ensure that they deliver their best to these injured patients. We have been and will continue promoting our facility through radio broadcasts, community outreach as well as information flyers to reach out to as many people as possible. We have a hotline number which people can contact to get our services,” added Ashika.
The facility responds to the post disaster plan developed by the Government of Nepal as well as supports the District Health Office to integrate rehabilitation care at the district hospital once the hospital is repaired. IOM works closely with the District Hospital and long-term rehabilitation partners to ensure adequate rehabilitation care for people from Sindhupalchowk.