Situated amongst the tall rocky hills is a beautiful village, the Raskot Village, recently turned Municipality, with hopes of development. For people there time seems to have stopped some decades ago and they are with minimal bare essentials for living. With the newly built road reaching to the top, there is hope for rapid implementation of development strategies.
With a clear vision and lot of effort, Dr Mukul Dhakal and his team have committed to build a 15- bedded well equipped hospital in Raskot – The Raskot Community Hospital. The Municipality Authority, the Mayor Mr Kashi Baral has taken pledge to maintain and sustain this facility. A two-storey concrete building previously built as Ayurved Hospital was renovated and designated to be used temporarily until the hospital is built. On occasion of inauguration of the “Raskot Community Hospital” a free health camp was organized and this was my opportunity to volunteer and know about the local people.
As a Pediatrician, I tended to all the children that came to the health camp. There were about 50 children. They seemed very interested in all the activities going on around and were eager to share their problems. I found that many children were malnourished. Infants upto 6 months on breastfeeding were relatively better, while older infants and young children were not thriving well. Their feeding habits seemed inadequate and inappropriate, basically due to lack of knowledge about food and nutrition amongst mothers. When asked they said they got “lito” (Ready to use Therapeutic Food packets distributed by Government and NGOs) only for children below 2 years. I was very disheartened to realize that none of the people knew that they could prepare “lito” at home itself with locally available food items.
Unawareness regarding health and illness is so rampant that a mother had brought her son for the first time to seek medical attention, who had not grown well and looked like a 4 year old, but actually was 11 years old. It was clinically apparent that he had congenital hypothyroidism, for which medicine is available. About 20 children had recurrent diarrhea and 6 had urinary infection. There were 2 children with discharging ears and 3 with respiratory illness. There were many with skin lesions.
Two main issues needed to be addressed were malnutrition and acute infections, which can be tackled with education and awareness amongst the people. Neither the children, nor the mothers knew that we must drink plenty of water during episodes of diarrhea. Telling them about “noon-chini-pani” (a glass of water with a spoon of sugar and a pinch of salt – a replacement for oral rehydration solution at home) and making them repeat after me felt like an accomplishment. There is a lot to do in Raskot, and I am sure this hospital will provide appropriate platform and innumerable opportunities to bring rays of hope for people of Raskot.
Dr Prabina Shrestha
TU Teaching Hospital