There has been major progress on this. The new Health Post and Birthing Centre is now built beyond window sill level and the roof structure is being prepared.
We started work on developing a health programme in Taplejung about 5 years ago in 2013, led by two very experienced Trustees with medical backgrounds, Dr Debbie Bartley and Dr Kate Keohane. They carried out an extensive survey of needs in the region (“villager views”) and have developed a very thoughtful plan to transform community health in the Taplejung region, a remote and very poor part of east Nepal. However, there is also significant need for capital investment and because we do not have the capital to fund all this need, we decided the biggest priority was to build a new Health Clinic in Yamphudin, one of the most remote villages in the district we cover. The existing health clinic was in state of disrepair, damaged in the earthquake, and near a river with structural erosion and subsidence.
We looked at the cost benefit analysis of retrofitting the old health post but the economics did not make sense and the location of the new one is much better and much closer to the village. The rebuild project budget includes all furniture, equipment and electricity back-up.
We have decided to use two of our partners on the ground for this work. Our main partner for all health work is Action For Nepal (one of the founders is Dr Jangmoo Sherpa) and together we worked on the prioritisation work and the detailed planning work. The floorplan has been designed with Government plans and community’s wishes in mind. AFN will manage the programme once the building has been completed. They are also responsible for kitting out the health clinic with all relevant medical equipment.
For the building work we are using REED. We chose REED because we have worked with them on the rebuild programme for the earthquake, including rebuilding 16 classrooms in Taplejung, and REED have worked with the Yamphudin community for 10 years working on our Education Programme.
In line with our guiding principles, the community is actively involved with this project and are providing their input, labour and in the case of one elderly village lady, the land to build the new Health Post. Both local partners are instrumental in mobilising the community.
After completion the health post will provide health services to around 900 community people living around this vicinity. One of the key themes of our Health Programme is the Maternal Child Health and Nutrition (MCHN) service and the new health clinic will be essential – childbirth procedures have to date been carried out in terrible conditions with frequent incidents of infant and maternal mortality. The new health clinic will see a sharp decline in these incidents.