Although our provision of smokeless stoves, toilets and clean water supplies at many schools has gone some way to offset health problems in Aruchour, we have always been aware of the need for more major investment into improving health prospects in the village.
Outbreaks of typhoid in the monsoon season are common, throat and chest problems go largely untreated and women have little access to gynaecological assistance.
Then in March 2012 we learned that Jhapat Bahadur Chetri (pictured left, husband of Sita, our smokeless stove builder) had died from TB at the age of 53, leaving a family of four. He had received only limited treatment at on the onset of the illness.
Shocked by the continuing lack of education as well as lack of provision, we are now determined to tackle some of the existing health problems in the village.
During our most recent visit, Tej Kumari – who featured on the front cover of our 2011 calendar – had such a serious infestation of head lice she had to have her head shaved completely to allow the infected areas to heal.
This, coupled with the death of Sita’s husband, inspired the start of the Tilden Project Nepal Aruchour Health Fund.
The Health Post needs upgrading and properly equipping, extensive “clean water” projects need to be undertaken and improved health education must be introduced into the schools.
So in May 2012 we initiated a specific fundraising drive
2013 Health Programme
In 2013, thanks primarily to a grant from the British Humane Association, we have been able to begin a focused health programme.The Health Post has been completely upgraded, re-decorated and refurbished. Appropriate drug storage facilities have been provided, also many essential items of medical equipment that were urgently required for assisting attending patients.
At the same time 4 important ‘clean water’ facilities have been completed across the village and an extensive joint-funded programme has been set in progress to build toilets for the 200 families currently without facilities of any kind.
In May we arranged a two-day Health Camp for Aruchour and neighbouring villages. Specialist eye and ear doctors were available, also more general physicians – all offering consultation and treatment to any villagers who attended. This was a remarkable opportunity for many families and the camp was fully occupied during the whole two days.
In 2014, assisted by a grant from the British Humane Assocation, we were able to extend our health programme considerably. We upgraded the Health Post, providing more appropriate, up to date equipment and facilities. As a result of our work the Health Post was upgraded, allowing Aruchour to attract better staffing and further investment from the government. We have financed the building of 2 Outreach Health Posts to cater for the needs of the elderly and small children who cannot manage the long walk to the main health post. Clinics are now run there on a weekly basis.(Photo) A Birthing Centre, again supported by TPN, has been provided and equipped near to the Health Post; this has made a huge difference to the young mothers in the village. It is easier to provide appropriate care, especially in more difficult births, when the mothers can be catered for in a specialised unit.
TPN also financed a Health Camp which brought Consultant Specialist doctors in to the village for a couple of days, allowing villagers to receive appropriate and immediately available advice and expertise for more serious health problems.
Thanks to a donation from the suppliers, we were able to organise free distribution of Hedrin to children and families infected with head lice, which is a constant and major problem in the village.
The programme of toilet provision for families (see health video) was also initiated at this time and we continue to provide these urgently needed facilities via a joint approach (the family builds the trench and the walls, TPN provided the roof the sanitary ware and guidance).
Aruchour Health Appeal video on YouTube
For many years we invested in provision of school text books and a school library system for all 9 schools in Aruchour. Currently this aspect of our work has been continued by another charity Room to Read, but we continue to fund the two pre-school classes: Patricia and Andrew Nurseries. More recently we have contributed to the work of Rotarians who were providing IT suites for the secondary schools.
In 2014 we completed building a Tilden House, so we have been able to commence and sustain initial IT education for children of all ages, but primarily primary school children who have no facilities in their schools.
We hope to extend this work to include a wider range of people who wish to learn these essential new skills, also to set up a Communication Centre in the Tilden House.