As a proud Founding Global Partner of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community, The Coca-Cola Company believes young people have an indispensable role in shaping a better, brighter and happier future. This special series highlights the semifinalists competing to win five $10,000 prizes as part of the Coca-Cola Shaping a Better Future Grant Challenge for the Global Shapers Community. Here we highlight the work of the Kathmandu hub.


More than 8,900 lives were lost, and an additional 20,000 injured after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25. Since then, almost 400 aftershocks measuring over 4.1 have continued to rock the most affected districts in Nepal, particularly Sindhupalchowk, Dolakha and Dhading.

Sindhupalchowk is one of the least-developed districts in Nepal, though it borders Kathmandu Valley. Overall there are 11 health posts in the district, but many are dysfunctional due to a lack of auxillary nurse midwives, auxillary health workers and community health workers. The Tipeni health post, which also serves as a birthing center, is the only facility that provides maternal and neonatal services as well as reproductive and sexual health counseling services, catering to the needs to 10 villages in the area, as opposed to the four it was initially built to serve. The Community Health post has been active for the last 20 years, but because it is run by a community based organization, it will not be in the priority of the government to support the reconstruction of this facility.



Kathmandu Global Shapers

The Global Shapers Kathmandu Hub will partner with this community-based organization, working tirelessly since the day of the earthquake, to rebuild their Healthpost, so they can continue their high quality service delivery to residents of the area, who cannot afford to travel for treatment and also prefer to come here for low-cost high quality service. Sindhupalchowk was close to being an open-defecation free zone when the earthquake hit. Now with 99% of households in the district destroyed, toilets have been destroyed, too. As a result, there is a high chance of the Indrawati river (a drinking water source) to become contaminated. As clean water is going to play a vital component when the health post is operational, we want to use the grant money to ensure that every patient has access to clean drinking water and proper sanitation facilities. Along with this we equip the team to go from village to village to provide WASH awareness training as well. The Kathmandu Hub has committed and raised $44,000 to go towards this project already while the local partner has contributed $6,000. We will manage any cost overruns beyond $60,000.

We are adopting the design recommended by the Ministry of Health and have identified our contractors, Alternative Furniture after having multiple companies share their concept, material type, cost and delivery timelines. We have also already signed a contract with structural engineers to conduct a soil and substructure test before we begin the construction, as the health post is located on a plateau, with continuous landslides on two sides of the hill.



Kathmandu

The scale of this project is defined by the number of additional lives saved through service. With this project, the Kathmandu Hub is embarking on a mission to Build Back Better by using modern technology and earthquake resistant materials to swiftly deliver a model health post. Once fully operational, the post will provide quality health services to a larger population (over 36,000). We anticipate that very few other health posts will be operational by October 2015 due to funding and bureaucratic challenges. We envision that we can replicate this process for similar health posts by sharing our implementation knowhow with other interested parties. 

We also plan to link the health post with a nearby hospital (Dhulikhel Hospital, re-known as one of the best Community Hospitals in Asia), for referrals and for future training and site visits from their community outreach program. We want to continue to support this community-based organization whose principal is to “serve the people” (Jana-Sewa). The health post is a testament to the resilience and courage of the committee running the facility despite constant reminders of the destruction that the earthquake has left behind.



Kathmandu

The Global Shapers Kathmandu Hub began interacting with the Tipeni health post team members since May 2015, when we sent a team of doctors to conduct a medical relief camp in Tipeni. The doctors and the health post members in collaboration treated over 4000 patients, going from village to village together to bring back patients in need of immediate support.

It was after setting up this health camp, that a particularly critical case was brought to the health camp, an 8 year old girl who had been stuck in the rubble under her house for a week, a 2.5 hour walk from the site of the health camp. The family had expected help to arrive after a few days of the earthquake, but after no help for several days, then heard about the health camp, and brought their severely injured daughter to the health camp. Her vitals were weak, with internal bleeding and infection. We received a call from the lead doctor on site with an immediate request for a heli-lift. The entire hub came together to rally every resource we had to save her life. 



Kathmandu

Each Shaper began posting the request on all social media and our Shaper Gaurav’s post was picked up on Twitter by the Nepal Police and eventually the Nepal Army agreed to divert their helicopter to rescue this girl. It was heartwarming to see a shy smile on her face 3 weeks after her surgery and find out that her name is Karishma, which means miracle in Nepali. This experience of being part of Karishma’s story is indeed a miracle for us, and has reinforced our commitment to providing a safe birthing center, in this difficult to access area of Sindhupalchowk. We started the Nepal Earthquake Relief project as we felt blessed to be survivors, and we want to continue in this spirit as we feel there is a strong impact when we are able to save even one life and make a positive difference. By establishing the standard for this health post, we can continue to influence scalable solutions in health in other remote and disaster affected areas of the country.

 



Kathmandu author

Sneh Rajbhandari is the curator of the Global Shapers Kathmandu Hub and Nepal Earthquake Relief Project Co-Lead. She is an advisor to the Nepal Government Special Envoy for Reconstruction Efforts. She started the Nepal chapter for INCLUDED, a nonprofit that has been working on issues related to urban poverty, internal migration and children’s development. She believes in the perseverance and resilience of the human spirit, in spite of the odds.