During the final weeks of February, a viral fever started spreading in Hulchuk, a village in the Kerauja VDC of Gorkha. On February 23, local teachers contacted PHASE health staff from Kerauja and explained the situation. Anita Basnet – a PHASE Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) in the area – immediately travelled to Hulchuk with two other ANMs and plenty of medicines following the call.
As they arrived in Hulchuk after a 5-hour walk, the community was very happy to see PHASE’s health staff. Most of the sick patients were experiencing dizziness, headaches, vomiting and diarrhoea. Anita and the other ANMs were able to treat 102 individuals during their 2 day stay in Hulchuk. The worst affected of the 54 patients treated for diarrhoea and vomiting were under the age of 5 (17 boys and 9 girls). PHASE health workers gave essential treatment and advice to prevent the dangerous dehydration that can often kill young children with diarrhoea. 48 further patients were treated for a variety of other symptoms – fever, headaches, joint pain, and conjunctivitis.
PHASE staff concluded that the viral disease outbreak might have spread so quickly because of a lack of awareness about proper hygiene. Therefore, they conducted a short emergency awareness workshop and educational door-to-door visits in the community. In addition, the health workers mobilised community members to clean and protect the water source for Hulchuk.
Fortunately, the sick individuals who were treated by PHASE staff and provided with medicines have not had to return for further assistance. The outbreak was controlled within a few days, thanks to the hard work and rapid response of PHASE’s health workers!