In for the long-haul: Rehabilitation and Nepal’s ‘step down’ process
Perched midway up a steep embankment in Nepal’s undulating Kavre district, the Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC) is at first glance unassuming. Its front gates are barely marked and the turn-off easy to pass. Once inside, however, the capacity and scale of the non-profit facility becomes clear: Ramps with gentle gradients lead to expansive therapy and vocational training rooms, while a multi-terrain wheelchair course is visible through large, light-filled windows. A hydrotherapy pool planned before the quake to be open in May will now be fully functional once immediate patient needs are met.
Since Nepal’s 25 April and 12 May earthquakes, SIRC has worked closely with the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) and WHO to provide critical care to those who sustained spinal cord injuries in the disasters. Along with Pokhara’s Green Pastures Hospital, SIRC has received referrals from health care centers throughout the 14 most affected districts, and has expanded its bed capacity from 51 to 200. As a result of SIRC’s impressive facilities and close coordination with health care partners, the center will form an integral part of the country’s ‘step down’ process designed to provide ongoing care and rehabilitation to those injured in the quakes. Along with accepting referrals of spinal cord patients, the center is working with the MoHP, WHO and other partners to ensure that the needs of those with multiple injuries and other complications are met. With Nepal’s emergency phase ended, the provision of ongoing care and reintegration services for the injured remain a priority.