In Nepal mobile health clinics show the way to build back better
Accessing health care in Nepal’s Western district of Gorkha can be difficult at the best of times. The district’s terrain is marked by steep mountains and plunging valleys, while a lack of motor-able roads means travel is slow, laborious and inconvenient. As with the rest of Nepal, qualified doctors are present only at the primary level and above, meaning that for much of Gorkha’s 271 000 residents they are often tough to access. After Nepal’s 25 April and 12 May earthquakes, the need to overcome these systemic challenges and encourage health-seeking behavior has never been clearer.
On 15 July, Gorkha’s District Public Health Office (DPHO) held a mobile health clinic in Bhumlichok, a Village Development Committee in the district’s south with a population of approximately 5000. Despite being just a few kilometers from the country’s mid-hill Prithvi Highway, Bhumlichok is marked by poor health indicators. After arriving at midday, the DPHO team, comprising of a general practitioner, two eye doctors, a lung disease expert, a lab technician, and a reproductive health expert, arrived at Bhumlichok’s makeshift health post and began receiving patients. Around 300 people showed up – a figure that the health assistant in-charge Nara Rawat was pleased with.