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The Nepal clinic is helping, you are helping. March 2004

Karing for Kids (KFK Nepal) runs a Mother and Child Health Clinic (MCH-Clinic) in the rural mountain communities of Rasuwa, Nepal. KFK Nepal is a non-government charity organization working to save the lives of children in Nepal since 1997. Scott MacLennan is currently visiting the clinic delivering much need medical supplies. Scott is also Ex Director of the Anatoli Boukreev fund. This is his cause, his mission, we ask you to consider making it yours too?

March 12, 2004

It takes a full day to drive from Kathmandu to the clinic over rough, four-wheel drive roads for most of the trip. Along the way we stopped frequently for masala tea, the sweet and spicy tea that is like chai at Starbucks, without the bucks part. Everywhere we stopped the people were very friendly and warm.

To get to the clinic you cut through one corner of Langtang National Park then continue ever up up and up. The peak Langtang is clearly visible the entire way. The map shows that the "road" continues on past our villages of Goljung, Gatlang and Chilime, but the map is a little optimistic I think. There is a crude road of sorts beyond us that goes to the Tibetan border and there are plans to make it a true port of entry from Tibet to Nepal in the future, but that will take some time.

The clinic sits atop a hill with a commanding view of the valley below and its many terraced farm plots. The primary villages we serve are in the valley just below the clinic, and some additional villages that use our clinic can be seen across the way, seemingly balanced on the hill side.

The clinic building was donated by the development committees of the three villages. It is mostly stone, with wood plank floors and a tin roof. On the first floor is the main outpatient exam room and behind it a room where a patient could stay the night if needed or where a more private exam can take place. The supplies sent by EverestNews.com reader Nicole Reilly were delivered and will be most useful to us. The clinic focuses on basic medical needs such as antibiotics, first aid, pre-natal counseling and general public health education. The staff go to the local schools and talk to the students about healthcare issues such as dental care and reproductive health matters. We also go each week to help at the government health outposts located in each village. These are staffed by a local person who received 6 weeks government training in public health and who attempts, with little support, to inform villagers of health matters.

They seem to appreciate our assistance a lot. One worker told me that the supervisor she answers too, and is supposed to be trained and supported by has not shown up in over six months.

We maintain a small library at the clinic, mostly for children. There are a couple of small schools in the area but no library or other place to obtain books. We also have space that can be used to study and has desk, chair and a real electric light to see by!

There are staff rooms at the clinic as well. The kitchen is on the main floor. It was added to the building at some point in time and is poorly constructed and drafty. I felt as if a few of the boards might give way when I walked on them. The stove is the classic Nepali wood-burner, and is made of clay with a small firebox and a hole to put the pot on over the firebox. Nepali stoves do not have any venting, so cooking can become a smoky affair. Upstairs are two large and one small bedroom with wooden bunks and futon-like bedding. Tamang are short people, it shows in the size of the bunks! Going to the villages was a jurassic park type of experience. It seems as if life has changed little in hundreds of years. The Tamang grow all their own food, grinding their own flour, weave the cloth for their clothing and gather wood for cooking fires. Days are labor intensive. Children start very young in the fields and with the work, around 7 or 8. This accounts for the level of education obtained by most Tamang, there is just too much work to do to survive here.

Our biggest challenge is in public health education, more than in giving medical treatment per se. Much of what we do treat at the clinic is preventable with little effort. For instance, we saw many children with cuts or scrapes that were now infected because they hadn't been kept clean. Some hot water and a clean cloth were all that was needed in the beginning. Now it is antibiotics and wound dressings. Likewise, I don't think there is a child in the village without a runny nose or a cough. There are of course a number of factors, but too long inside the Smokey kitchens is not helping. Because respiratory problems are so widespread, serious issues sometimes go too long before treatment is sought. Recently a 2 year old was brought to the clinic with severe pneumonia. We wanted the child taken to the Kathmandu hospital, but the parents would not cooperate. We treated the child with the medicines on hand and we were rewarded this time, the child lived, but it could have easily gone the other way. Earlier treatment would have made the situation far less risky. So, this is a beautiful and beautifully poor country. Our assistance here makes a crucial difference. Our dollar goes so far here too. Imagine that this clinic has 2 employees and all the normal overhead costs, such as electricity, supplies etc and yet we can do all this for around $5000 a year. We hope to increase services and the budget as time goes on, for there is much more we could do with resources, but wow do we get some bang for the buck in Nepal. Last year we treated about 1000 people in the clinic, not including the outreach work in the schools and at the government not-supported health outpost. Scott

To make a donation send your check to: Anatoli Boukreev Memorial Fund PO Box 1170 Sandia Park New Mexico 87047 or make a donation using your credit card or your checking account on-line using Pay-pal here: 

To some of you $500 US might not seem like much, but $500 in Nepal can save lives.... Please consider giving

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