Emergency and humanitarian action

WHO works with Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre

Keshab Prasad Sitaula
Photo: WHO/J. Swan

Since Nepal’s 25 April and 12 May earthquakes, Keshab Prasad Sitaula has been a busy man.

The thirty-three-year-old occupational therapist, who has been working at the purpose-built Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC) since 2002, says that immediately after the first quake he provided vital support to those presenting with spinal injuries at Kathmandu’s major hospitals.

“I was at Bir Trauma Center for around two weeks teaching people with SCI and their family members how to use spinal braces, how to prevent pressure sores – and how to manage their bladder and other things,” he said. “At that time I also trained the nurses there.” This intervention saved lives and helped to develop effective referral pathways between the major hospitals and SIRC.

Now back at SIRC, Sitaula is working tirelessly to rehabilitate the many patients in his care. In order to meet the post-quake need for specialized rehabilitation services, SIRC is willing to expand its capacity by four times. The WHO in coordination with Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has designated the facility a key part of Nepal’s post-acute rehabilitation and ‘step down’ process to meet the rehabilitation needs of the injured.

According to Dipesh Pradhan, SIRC’s Director of Administration, despite being a non-profit facility the center has worked closely with health care partners to provide quality services to those in need.

“We are a member of the WHO-coordinated rehabilitation sub-cluster and are a focal point for spinal care issues,” he said. “The MoHP has been supporting us since the first day and has been sending the message to all government and private hospitals that those with spinal cord injuries should be referred to us. We feel very proud to be a partner of the MoHP.”

Sitaula is unlikely to get a break from his hectic schedule anytime soon, but that does not affect his dedication. From the expansive rehab therapy room he manages, Sitaula affirmed his commitment to providing the best long-term care possible to his countrymen and women: “We are ready,” he said.