Global Health & Hygiene sub-Committee of NRNA has conducted a rapid health assessment of areas of Bara district in Nepal where over 30 people had died, and hundreds injured because of the unprecedented tornado and storm that rocked the southern districts of Nepal on March 31.
With the coordination from the Global Health sub-Committee, a team of medical doctors and health educators traveled to Pheta rural municipality of Bara district and conducted rapid assessment of water, sanitation and health condition of the areas, conducted sessions to demonstrate water purification using chlorine drops, performed general health checkup and provided health education.
The medical team comprised of Dr. Arjun Kumar Chaudhary, Dr. Sagar Rana Magar, Dr. Ram Prakash Sah, among others. The local mobilization of health activity was done by Dr. Siddhartha Bhandari and Dr. Surendra Sapkota.
Dr. Sanjeeb Sapkota, the chair of Global Health & Hygiene Committee of NRNA, supervised and guided this operation of Health assessment and health checkup.
The global health committee partnered with Nepal Medical Student Society (NMSS). NMSS is the oldest and the largest organization of medical students in Nepal and it internationally recognized.
The benevolence and goodwill of NRNA were visible and palpable as the medical team provided care, comfort and services to the brothers and sisters who are undergoing the tragic situation.
A comprehensive list of recommendations is being prepared to present to the Health Ministry of Nepal to improve the health condition of the survivors of the storm, but here are the preliminary recommendations. The government and several organizations are already taking many of these actions, but there are still many areas of improvements:
- People in the disaster hit area mostly rely on tube-well for drinking water. This water is prone to be contaminated with microorganisms. Water purification with chlorine drops and other methods should be immediately done. Boil-water advisory should be made. Water borne diseases like dysentery, typhoid and cholera are common following any disaster and this disaster is not uncommon. Survivors and residents should be made aware of the risks of this diseases spreading from water. They need to be provided with means to prevent them.
- Vaccination status of the children and pregnant women should be sought. They should be immunized against diseases that are prevented by vaccinations.
- People go out in open field for defecation. This increases the risk of spread of the diseases, particularly the water-borne and food-borne diseases. Temporary latrines should be constructed, and people encouraged to use them.
- People living in the shelter and under tarpaulin roof are exposed to the elements of weather. That increases the likelihood of respiratory disease. They should be provided enough protection to ward off the adverse effects of weather.
- Vulnerable people should be given extra care as they are easy target of disease and injury following disasters. These vulnerable population include children, elder citizens, pregnant women and people with disability. Children under 5 years and elderly above 65 years need added health-care.
- Mental health of the survivors is shattered during any disaster and this disaster is not different. Mental health counseling are needed and such counseling should be followed Suicide following disaster is not uncommon and measures need to be taken to prevent such tragedy. Suicidal idealization should be monitored among the high-risk people and support system should be established.
- Makeshift health centers should be established in key areas where the survivors can easily go to and get health checkups.
We thank everyone for their support and encouragement to the health and hygiene committee of NRNA. You provide us the energy and motivation to make different in the lives of our brothers and sisters living in and outside of Nepal.
We are are preparing a comprehensive assessment and recommendations so that we could share to the concerned great-hearted agencies and organizations.