Nepal is one of the least developed countries of the world with around 20% of its people lying below the poverty line. The Nepal government has launched a health insurance policy for its people and primary health care services in government institutions like health post and primary health care center have been made free to people. But still a lot of people cannot access it because of lack of awareness, superstitious beliefs and geographical difficulties.
Looking at this current situation, I have designed a project to increase health awareness among people and attain sustainable development goal 3: good health and well-being in the smallest geopolitical unit of Nepal i.e. the ward level. It is a multistep longitudinal program. I am working as a team leader of this program and have collaborated with various student organizations to meet the objective. This program is a foundation for me and other medical students to contribute in the sector of health as medical students and as future doctors. We will collaborate with the local government at ward level and will run mainly health awareness programs. In our visits we aware school students regarding hand washing hygiene, menstrual hygiene, substance abuse and various endemic communicable and non-communicable diseases. We will also provide local females training to make reusable sanitary pads so that it will be easier for them to access safe and cost effective sanitary pads. We will also establish school health clubs for empowering local youths for health and various community based awareness programs.
We have started running a program in one of the rural municipalities of Nepal with the financial support of a local bank, Machhapuchchhre Bank, as our first program. We are running this program in ward number 6 of Jahada Rural Municipality of Morang District, Nepal which is a rural place located in south-eastern Nepal. This program will set a foundation for us to run programs in other rural municipalities across the country. We have made an agreement with local medical students, local government and local people to run this program. We believe that changing the attitude of people towards health can only be achieved if people feel that it is their program and they participate actively. Hence, we have mobilized local youths and community leaders in our project. By now, we have conducted school health awareness programs and career counselling to local youths along with establishment of school health clubs. In the near future, we will conduct training to make reusable sanitary pads and screening and awareness programs for diabetes and hypertension. We also successfully conducted awareness regarding COVID19 in the community just before nationwide lockdown was imposed in our country.
Due to nationwide lockdown of COVID19 we have suspended our community programs for a while. During this period, we are trying to promote our project using various social media platform and reach interested medical students, social influencers and organizations who can help us extend our project. We have been supported with 250 $ by the network: towards unity for health as student project for health 2020 winner. We have planned to use this fund for organizing training programs for medical students and youths to extend our project in other wards of the nation. We will use this grant as a seed funding to initiate similar program in another ward of a rural municipality. Besides that, I have been provided with a mentor for my project from the network and it has been very beneficial as the interaction provided me with a lot of new ideas to run the project and interact with local communities. I have benefited from years of experience of my mentor and will continue to benefit it in the future as well.
I am very hopeful to run some health awareness campaign immediately after the lockdown and learn a lot from local communities and share it with the network, student network organization and my mentor. I hope it will be a great learning opportunity for me to run more community based health education and awareness programs for good health and well-being of the community people.
Student Project for Health 2020 Winner
MBBS Student, Nepal.
27th June 2020.