Access Health Care Nepal mobilises national and international biomedical engineers, medical practitioners and other health care professionals and students to provide an evidence-based approach to development in rural areas of Nepal. Remote regions in western Nepal such as Rukum are impoverished and neglected after the Maoist insurgency and because of the huge geographical and infrastructural barriers in reaching the area. Thus the current AHCN effort is initiated in Rukum District and it is established in three specific phases:
- Documenting the health care needs of Rukum.
- Combining innovation with a rigorous translational in-field research in the fields of biomedical engineering, public health and medicine.
- Providing sustainable solutions for rural health care services and financing hereof in regions of interest.
At AHCN we value the uniqueness of local cultures in remote areas and it is the a central aim at AHCN to preserve these places, the people, their ways and cultures. Isolated cultures undergo rapid eradication due to migration of rural people to urban areas with devastating health care consequences for urban areas. A significant cause of this eradication is the lack of fundamental health care services, the access to which we understand to be a basic human right. The AHCN group works in harmony with local cultures to provide improved health care and quality of life in rural communities. Throughout our efforts we live up to our core values of:
- Respecting the local society and the local culture, which our activities shall not influence or change.
- Working with local societies in accordance with their lifestyles and cultures.
- Investing the necessary resources to understand the local cultures and their needs.
- Empowering people towards a healthy life without fundamentally altering their way of living.
- Addressing issues and complaints of people, without imposing our own ideas of what is best for the people we aim to help.
- Placing our efforts where help is necessary and requested.
- Conducting our work at all times with high level of professionalism, morality and integrity.
The Issue in Detail
Designated as one of the 48 Least Developed Countries in the world, Nepal ranks 145th of 187 on the Human Development Index. Over half of the country’s 27 million inhabitants live in poverty. There is clear need in Nepal from infrastructural development to enhancing basic human capabilities. Many NGOs and nonprofits have been working in Nepal for decades to address these development issues; however, far from all of the country’s regions are being reached due to corruption, geographical and climatic factors.
Nepal’s development is hindered by geographical and climatic factors including the monsoon season, Himalayan mountain range, and earthquakes. The geographical characteristics of the region make the construction of roads expensive and difficult. The majority of roads are not operable during the monsoon season, and more than 35% of the population lives two hours or more from an all-season road. Where health clinics do exist, the feasibility of traveling hours or even days to these locations is often impossible for patients.
Our target Population
Access Health Care Nepal in specifically targeting the demographic of people who lack access to health care facilities in the Rukum District, with a population of over 200,000. Our team recently returned from assessing health needs specifically in this demographic. Furthermore we met with the local district officer to understand the infrastructure, current health system and shortcomings of the district. The goal of Phase 1 was to investigate feasibility and acceptance of Access Health Care’s effort among the population of Rukum and to create an initial documentation of their health care needs. Based on our experiences and collected data in phase 1 we will conduct Phase 2 Match 2015 (see section “Our Mission”).