Tuk Bahadur Sarki lives in a small village called Kerabari, two
hours drive from the city of Dharan, in Morang district, with his seven children
(3 daughters and 4 sons) and his wife. He usually earns NRs. 150 (£1.30)
to NRs. 200 (£1.74) a day by working as a daily wage labourer which is barely
enough to feed his family.
One day the silence of the early morning was broken with Bimala
(his 6 year old second daughter) crying ... "aamaa....dukhyo"
(Mum.....it hurts). The couple rushed to find her rolling on the floor in
severe pain. They immediately rushed her to the local health post but they
could not help her so Bimala was referred to the biggest hospital in the region,
the BPKHIS in Dharan.
The doctors said she needed an immediate operation to remove her
appendix. As Tuk Bahadur did not have enough money he hurried back to his
village to arrange money for her operation. His neighbours, the Village
Development Committee and local political leaders all contributed towards
the cost of Bimala's operation. The appendix was removed successfully but
unfortunately her intestine was also damaged. Tuk Bahadur was completely
unaware of the blunder and so upon the doctor's suggestion he took Bimala home
as he was told the open wound should be stitched only on the third follow-up
Tuk Bahadur was unable to take Bimala for the follow-up
consultations because he did not have enough money, even to cover the cost of
travel to the hospital. Many days and months passed but Bimala's wound did
not heal and her large intestine hung out from the opening.
Like any other child Bimala wanted to go to school and to be
able to play with her siblings and friends but her condition did not allow her
to live a normal life. Her parents were disheartened and prayed for a
miracle to happen.
One day, in one of the community programmes conducted by BNMT
near where Tuk lived, Bimala's case was shared with BNMT's project field
officers. BNMT immediately offered help and played an instrumental role in
bringing together the local Health Facility Management Committee and Village
members to discuss the problem. The Health Facility had been running a health
financing scheme to assist poor people to access better health services and
treatment. BNMT the Village Development Committee and the forest users group agreed to contribute
NRs. 50,000/- each for Bimala's treatment.
Owing to the active intervention of the project, the hospital agreed to subsidise the treatment costs and the
rights based approach project also further
assisted Tuk Bahadur by bearing the travel costs to and from the hospital.
Bimala underwent another operation and this time the operation was
It has been almost a year since the last operation and Bimala
has now recovered fully. She is very happy to be able to go to school and
to play with her siblings and friends. Tuk Bahadur and his wife say their
happiness knows no bounds when they see their daughter happy and playing with
her friends. They are grateful to God and BNMT for making things happen
for them which seemed impossible for so long.
The majority of the population living in Bhediya Village
Development Committee ward number 7 of Siraha District are disadvantaged
with very low literacy levels and little awareness of personal hygiene.
Things changed once Renu Devi Nayak had participated in a Participatory Learning
and Action by Women workshop conducted by the local NGO SRDC with support from
BNMT. Here she learned the root causes of the health problems in her
Renu, together with her fellow participants campaigned for
healthy living and are already beginning to see results. Bhediya now has
six latrines and the importance of using latrines instead of going out in the
fields is slowly but steadily becoming accepted. As a result there are now
fewer incidents of diarrhoea and other infectious diseases.
Village women squat on the ground. Children wait expectantly. A few men
sit nearby. A young woman waits nervously to address the others.
She has a flip chart of coloured pictures to illustrate her talk
on sexually transmitted diseases and their prevention.
Her message is to:
how HIV/AIDS is caught
to one partner
The women chatter enthusiastically. The children giggle.
The men banter – “There is no fun staying with one woman” But the
women reply “Better to do so and love her”.
Facilitators from BNMT are pleased with the instruction
and the response from the villagers.
Child to Child Clubs
"My friends and I of the Child-To-Child club have
launched a campaign to generate awareness of health rights in our
community. We have already shared information on health rights with more
than 500 people in our village and we plan to tell everyone how important it is
to live healthily and to demand their health rights."
-Kamala Rai, Grade IX student at Maheshwori Secondary
Kamala Rai comes from a small village in the Yafu Village
Development Committee in Shankhuwasabha district. Kamala has been
fortunate enough to go to school as many parents in rural Nepal do not send
their daughters to school. She used to be very shy and introverted
although good at her studies. Her life changed when she joined the
Child-to-Child programme at her school - an activity under the Rights Based
Approach project. Encouraged by the project's staff the students have
established the club to spread good health messages to their peers and to people
in their community.
Having taken on the responsibility of member secretary of the
club at her school Kamala has been instrumental in organising and facilitating
various programmes such as quizzes and street drama. She is no longer the
shy girl teased by her friends as a geek and confidently shows off her skills in
front of a large audience.
"There is no stopping now. We will hand over the
Child-to-Child club to our juniors next year and they will continue to spread
the messages to their peers. As we graduate from school our quest will
continue in the community."
Spreading the health messages
of all ages have strong religious beliefs and take part in various cultural
events, especially in rural areas. These provide an excellent opportunity
to spread health messages.
The Child-to-Child clubs in the schools designed and implemented several
local fund raising and awareness generating activities around these
events. An example is Naag Panchami, an annual festival of Hindus in which
leaflets with the picture of Naag, the snake god, are placed above the main
entrance of the house by a priest. It is believed that the leaflet will
ward off evil. According to the Hindu ritual, the priest who places the
leaflet is offered some money. The Child-to-Child club members suggested
printing the leaflets with health rights messages with the picture of Naag and
pasting them on every house in the project area.
This has now become a regular annual event for Child-to-Child
clubs in the many Village Development Committees in the project districts.
It has been well received by the community and the priests. Not only were
health messages effectively disseminated but a reasonable fund was generated as
well by the money offered to club members whilst pasting the leaflets.
Camps have been one of our most successful outreach
activities. Run in collaboration with several partners
they allow a large number of people to seek much needed medical
One example is a camp organised after a survey
of the Rani cluster in Morag district found 94 out of 400 women
surveyed had a prolapsed uterus. A common complication
following an unattended childbirth which if left untreated can
lead to incontinence and infection.
583 people received medical attention including treatment of
prolapsed uterus, dental and homeopathy services and referral to Koshi Zonal
hospital for some severe cases. In addition a health exhibition was held
to make people aware of the health services available.
The participation in, and response to, the Health Camp were
overwhelming and people who attended the health camps were very happy to have
received medical attention locally.