After months of hard work and planning by numerous team members in Nepal, PHASE has just launched a new healthcare and nutrition project in Mugu & Bajura Districts (funded by EcoHimal through the Austria Development Cooperation).
For communities living in this region, current access to primary healthcare is almost impossible involving several hours walk along dirt tracks to very underequipped and understaffed government health centres. The new project will provide essential medicines, healthcare and advice to 6 remote communities around Ruga and Shreenagar. The health project is linked to agricultural activities aimed at improving availability of nutritioius foods, particularly for women and young children. By improving the health and nutrition of individuals in these isolated villages, PHASE is able to positively transform lives and helping these communities break the cycle of poverty.
To start the project, four staff from the PHASE central office team in Nepal, including Dr Gerda Pohl, along with five members staff for the new project, travelled for three days by car to Gamgadi in Mugu.
Once in Mugu, the 21 new project staff members (most of these were recruited locally) took part in a two-day induction workshop, introducing the work of PHASE and outlining project expectations and practicalities. Action plans were made for setting up the healthcare centres and getting the services running over the first few weeks.
Next the truck carrying all the project supplies arrived in Gamgadi, and the staff team sorted the equipment into packages for each health centre.
The next day, the whole team walked 1.5 hours for a meeting with representatives of Ruga VDC which would determine the location of the PHASE Outreach Clinic and discuss the support which was needed from the local community. One community member agreed to rent out his newly built house to PHASE staff for accommodation and to give the two ground floor rooms for free to use as the new Outreach Clinic. The community also agreed to assist PHASE workers in buying fire wood and accompanying them when moving within around the region.
The official opening of the Ruga health project was on the 27th of March 2016. Having launched the project and installed the local staff in the new ORC, the remainder of the team moved to Natarphu the following day, continuing from there to launch each of the health programmes in turn over the following two weeks.
There were numerous challenges faced by the PHASE team over this initial week, from missing equipment, improvised hand-painted banners and locations which were very difficult to access – however the hard work and dedication of all involved made the launch a success. PHASE’s latest healthcare project is now underway and we have every confidence that our staff in Mugu, with the support of the local community and central office in Kathmandu, will make the project a success.