Humla, in the far west of Nepal, is the second least developed district in Nepal and the most remote area that PHASE works in.
There are no roads in Humla. Food security is extremely low and depended on food-aid flows in by helicopter. There are particularly high levels of malnutrition, and very poor maternal health and child health.
PHASE are currently seeking an external consultant to evaluate our DFID project in the Humla and Bajura Region – TOR End Project Evaluation DFID – 23rd Dec 16 (Jan 2017)
Where do we work in Humla?
PHASE has been working in Maila, Melchham and Jair, three of the most remote communities in the region, since March 2008.
The villages have a total population of around 4,700, but the total number of beneficiaries is much greater. Many live outside the villages and some travel for long distances from neighbouring communities, and even from outside the district, to attend our facilities as health provision is so poor elsewhere. The success of the PHASE health facilities is partly due to PHASE’s excellent reputation in rural communities across Nepal.
Health Project Humla
Our health posts in Humla have been a huge success to date – each one has an average daily attendance of around 50 patients.
Before PHASE arrived in 2008, there were regular diarrhoea epidemics across Humla which devastated communities. Since PHASE arrived, however, diarrhoea epidemics are a thing of the past. Our health staff have worked tirelessly to help eradicate the epidemics through education about basic hygiene.
Dr. Gerda Pohl, the PHASE Medical Coordinator based in Nepal and a founder of PHASE, describes how our health staff have prevented any outbreaks of diarrhoea by teaching them about hand washing and safe drinking water. This knowledge, which is easily shared, is just one sustainable, long-term developments to their quality of life. With this simple knowledge, people in Humla have been able to prevent diarrhoea epidemics, a testament to PHASE’s commitment to sustainable change.
PHASE clinics also concentrate on maternal, pre, post and neonatal care in Humla. Before PHASE arrived, maternal and child death rates were high. Now, thanks to the work of PHASE health workers at health clinics, both have reduced dramatically.
Due to the remoteness of Humla, many traditions still exist that are not practiced elsewhere in Nepal. This includes chhaupadi – where menstruating women and those about to give birth are considered impure. They are forced to remain in unhygienic cattle sheds away from their homes and families, and are forbidden from consuming vegetables, fruit and milk.
The practice results in many health complications for women, including malnutrition, infections, diarrhoea and chest infections. Sadly these are not the only problems – rape, harrassment, theft, snake bites and attacks from wild animals are common.
PHASE runs a health programme in partnership with the District Health Office of Humla to address the ongoing tradition of chhaupadi by raising awareness of the dangers of both this practice and giving birth unattended. This is empowering many women to break from the harmful tradition.
Photographs of Humla
The photographer Charlie Campbell visited Humla in April 2014. She met the communities we support in the district and our Nepalese staff who work closely with them – taking many excellent photographs.