Women’s Health Camp – Phase One

Colorado Nepal Alliance held its first Women’s Health Camp the last week in February (2020) in three villages in Khaniyabas municipality (Dhading district).  But a week later, the coronavirus pandemic engulfed the world, including Nepal.

What is a health camp? This term is not known to most Westerners, but it is well-known in Nepal. These are pop-up clinics where attendees get free medical care and free medications. They usually last only a few days, and then they pack up and are gone. Generally they are staffed by doctors, who are rare in rural Nepal.

Women wait to register for health camp in Jharlang, Dhading district

CNA’s health camp was different in one big respect: we screened women for gynecologic issues, and we are following them to make sure they get the care they need. Some need biopsies for suspicious lesions, others need minor procedures like removal of a cervical polyp, and many need substantial surgeries to correct problems such as when the uterus, bladder, or rectum are pushing through into the vagina (called ‘prolapse’). In addition to gynecological issues, we encountered patients with breathing issues, lacerations, burns, high blood pressure, and many other maladies, and treated them to the best of our ability.

Our team of Nepali gynecologists and general practitioners, nurses, health assistants, and pharmacists, treated just over 1,000 women (and a few men and children). Women of child-bearing age or who had borne children were offered pelvic exams.

Doctors arrive in Jharlang in the rain.

Most of these women have never had a comprehensive pelvic exam. They are not common in rural Nepal, even though most women have children. And because they are not standard of care, we found over ninety women who need follow-up services.

Our in-country partner, ROYM-Nepal, is working to get care for these women. Nepal entered a strict lockdown early in the pandemic, and the government is still limiting travel, in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus. In addition, there are limited elective surgeries and procedures at most hospitals.

We will keep you updated on our efforts to get care for these women.

Women wait to see the gynecologists while Ganesh Himal looms in the background

We have raised funds to pay for up to 50 surgeries. If you would like to contribute to their care, please make a donation (blue button at top of your screen).