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14 Feb 16

Improving Healthcare Services in Nepal

To offer better services to the remote communities that PHASE Nepal is working in, our front line health workers attend regular training sessions every year to learn new skills and treatment practices.

Every year between Dashain and Tihar, the main autumn festivals in Nepal, the field staff come to the main office in Kathmandu and have the opportunity to update their skills according to their needs. Last October, some of our health staff attended dental training and contraceptive implant training. Furthermore, our health staff attended training sessions on IMCI (Integrated Management Child Illnesses) and obstetric problems run by our health advisor, Dr. Gerda Pohl, in the main office. Dr. Kashim, an experienced Nepali GP working for NSI in improving rural health, came to give a talk about poisoning, and our health officers Urmila & Sunita ran workshops about reporting and health education. Junila Kokali, an Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) & Skilled Birth Attendant (SBA), took part in PHASE’s dental training due to the wide gap in oral health at Junila’s health post in Maila, Humla.

In November 2015, Junila took part in a 10-day dental training in Haatiban, Kathmandu, conducted by Health & Development Society Nepal. The training had five days of theoretical background, where Junila learnt about oral hygiene, oral health and tooth extraction, including the technical skills needed for safe local anaesthesia and infection prevention. After the theoretical part, the trainees had five days of practical training, providing free dental treatment under supervision to locals in the neighbouring schools.

Junila was very enthusiastic about the training as she acquired new knowledge and practical experience related to oral health. This included developing her understanding of diseases related to insufficient oral hygiene, learning how these diseases can be prevented and necessary treatment for them. Prior to this dental training, many patients in Maila that came with oral health problems received little support from Junila and other health post workers. Most commonly, Junila had to refer patients onto the district dental hospital, which was a four days walk away from the Maila village. As a result, many villagers often ignored the problem and waited for pain to pass, Junila learned about the problems of untreated oral problems that could lead to more serious, unpleasant health consequences in the future. However, since Junila has been able to treat the people in the community and provide everyday advice and guidance for oral health.

PHASE also provides SBA training for health staff, as a crucial part of PHASE’s ANM training programme. Specifically the SBA training is important so that PHASE ANMs can directly tackle problems of maternal health and mortality in Nepal. Sangita Baruwal is supervisor of health in Humla; she supports the frontline PHASE health workers in Maila, Melcham and Jair. Recently, Sangita completed a course to become an SBA that was offered by the local health authority of Humla district. She attended the two month course in Banke at the government hospital.

SBAs provide invaluable interventions that improve maternal and neonatal health and reduce maternal and neonatal mortality. Under the Sustainable Development Goals, the government of Nepal has made the commitment to improve maternal health and has been financially supporting training for SBAs. Through her training, Sangita will be able to help more mothers and babies have a safe delivery, and support the PHASE frontline health workers to improve the care they provide.
All the above training programmes were funded through a variety of sources, including Global Giving donations, the Burdett Trust for Nursing, and the Government of Nepal.

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