Emergency and humanitarian action

In Nepal’s Dhading district, Medical Camp Kits are all set to replace damaged primary health facilities

A few hundred meters off Nepal’s mid-hill Prithvi Highway, a construction site in the town of Gajuri, Dhading district, is a hive of activity. Despite the searing heat, gravel and stone-dust is being shoveled, waste and sewage pits dug, and the foundations for the laying of concrete slabs prepared. In three days’ time, a WHO-procured Medical Camp Kit (MCK) will be fully assembled and able to provide care to the over 40 000 residents within the town’s vicinity dependent on access to outpatient facilities.

In the past week, WHO in coordination with Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population and other health partners has deployed 36 MCKs to replace damaged facilities throughout the 14 districts most affected by Nepal’s 25 April and 12 May earthquakes. As the monsoon arrives, the MCKs will ensure access to health care facilities in outlying areas while providing the opportunity to recover and rebuild damaged health centres.

Measuring for new health centre
According to Dr Santosh Manandhar, the in-charge of Gajuri’s primary health center, Gajuri’s MCK, which is being set up in an open space opposite the existing facility, is important for those seeking medical care as well as health workers. “This facility is too damaged right now,” he said. “After the earthquake the people have been too scared to go inside the building, so we moved the outpatient department over here,” he added, gesturing toward a makeshift tent in the facility’s courtyard. According to Manandhar, Gajuri’s health center ordinarily receives between 60 and 80 patients per day.
Photo: WHO/M. Vurens van Es
Each MCK will be located as per the demands of the local terrain and the the composition of the kit would vary according to local health care needs.
Yudhir Khadka, a civil engineer for World Food Program, is responsible for determining the layout of Gajuri’s MCK and preparing the infrastructure to host it. The MCKs include provisions for male and female wards, one male and one female toilet, a staff room, consultation room, six solar panels, one 2000 liter water tank, as well as one waste and one sewage pit. Each MCK will be located as per the demands of the local terrain and the composition of the kit would vary according to local health care needs.
Photo: WHO/M. Vurens van Es
3.	Getting the camp’s specifications right is of critical importance for ensuring its sustainability.
Getting the camp’s specifications right is of critical importance for ensuring its sustainability. “Our biggest concern is that it is hygienic. The sewage pit will be three meters deep and will soak up the fluid material for up to six months. Anytime longer than that and we will have to make another pit,” he said. Positioning the solar panels to ensure a steady supply of power is also a pressing concern. Pointing to a series of stakes marking where six south-facing solar panels will be situated, Khadka said, “solar panel has been positioned to receive maximum sunlight.”
Photo: WHO/M. Vurens van Es
Ram Chandra KC owns the land upon which Gajuri’s MCK is being set up.
Ram Chandra KC owns the land upon which Gajuri’s MCK is being set up. His fertilizer warehouse, which also doubles as his home, was damaged beyond repair in the quakes. He is now sleeping under a makeshift shelter near the camp. Despite his own misfortune, KC was pleased to be able to help the community by allowing the MCK to be set up on his land. “It’s important for a medical tent to be set up as it’s for the public’s sake. The old health center is not at all safe,” he said.
Photo: WHO/M. Vurens van Es
Sudin Kayastha (center) has been working at Gajuri’s primary health care facility for just over a year.
Sudin Kayastha (center) has been working at Gajuri’s primary health care facility for just over a year. Since the earthquakes he has been tending to patients at a makeshift shelter in the facility’s courtyard. According to Kayastha, Gajuri’s MCK will be important in providing peace of mind and services to the patients: “We are looking forward to it,” he said, adding, “Patients are scared of getting treated inside the building.”
Photo: WHO/M. Vurens van Es
Acting WHO Representative to Nepal, Payden, says the deployment of MCKs will fill a critical gap in Nepal’s health care system and will ensure and enhance access to health care services in the coming months.
Acting WHO Representative to Nepal, Payden, says the deployment of MCKs will fill a critical gap in Nepal’s health care system and will ensure and enhance access to health care services in the coming months. “Nepal’s health system has been compromised by the recent earthquakes.. We continue to work closely with Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population to ensure that the health needs of the population are met throughout the monsoon period. Ensuring equitable access to affected communities in remote areas is an ongoing concern of WHO and we are pleased to be facilitating this via the deployment of the MCKs.”
Photo: WHO/M. Vurens van Es
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