The History of BNMT – 1980s and 1990s

Increasing Local Skills

1980 – Goitre survey undertaken in Sankuwasbha district. First Cost Sharing Drug Scheme established in Bhojpur. Community Health Leader training started in Sankuwasabha.

1981 – Mass iodised oil vaccination campaign undertaken. Health post drug manual published. Drug shopkeepers training course held. Primary health care survey commenced in Mamling.

1982 – BNMT registered in the United States as a charity. First Bhojpur Drug Scheme seminar held. Community Health Leader programme extended to Dhankuta district.

1983 – BCG campaign completed in all districts of the eastern region. Maintenance work handed over to the Government health service. Hill Drugs Scheme shopkeepers’ refresher course held. 49% cost recovery achieved in Bhojpur Drug Scheme.

1984 – HRH Princess Helen Shan becomes new Royal Patron. Multi-drug therapy for leprosy started in most districts. Eleven Hill Drugs Scheme retailers finish government training. Bhojpur parasite survey conducted.

1985 – HRH The Prince of Wales becomes Royal Patron. Support to the Nepal Anti-TB Association started, comprising provision of supplies and seconded staff. Animal Drugs Scheme established.

1986 – Clinic opened in Diktel, Khotang district, making a total of eight TB/leprosy clinics in eight hill districts. 70 Community Health Leaders trained in preventive and curative health work. Women’s literacy classes started in Sankuwasbha.

1987 – Cost Sharing Drug Scheme expanded to Taplejung. 200 patients received leprosy treatment at BNMT clinics. Involvement of expatriate doctors in TB/leprosy work reduced as local staff improved their skills.

1988 – Women’s literacy and health education expanded in Sankuwasabha district. Female Community Health Volunteers training programme established.

1989 – Start of integration of BNMT TB/leprosy work into the Government’s health service. Cost Sharing Drug Scheme expanded to Panchthar. Animal Drug Scheme handed over to a local livestock programme. Seminars on rational prescribing held in Cost Sharing Drug Scheme districts. Literacy training now planned and taught by Nepali staff.

Towards Sustainability– 1990s

1990 – Cost Sharing Drug Scheme expanded to Khotang district. First TB training held for government health workers in lowland districts. Street Theatre established, to promote health messages. Training Unit established to improve staff training skills. Traditional healers’ training started.

1991 – All 29 Hill Drug Scheme shopkeepers awarded licences. Community Health Volunteer programme handed over to the government. School Community Development Programme started.

1992 – TB and leprosy work reorganised, introducing new TB treatment regime and expanded role for Nepalese staff. Water projects undertaken by school community groups. Drugs supplied to Bhutanese refugee camps.

1993 – TB training plan for lowland districts finalised with government officials. Attendance at health posts, supplied by the Cost Sharing Drug Schemes, shown to be higher than average and increasing. First Women’s Groups formed amongst literacy students.

1994 – Appointment of Mahesh Sharma, first Nepalese Director. 88% cure rate achieved in TB programme. All lowland districts covered by six-day training in TB. Street Theatre team performed 60 dramas and puppet shows and two training sessions to teach theatre skills.

1995 – TB case finding programme handed over to the Government. Five new Hill Drug Scheme shops opened. Cost recovery improved with introduction of graduated fee scale for patients at government clinics. Major review of community health and development work.

1996 – New TB treatment observing patients taking drugs (DOTS) started in Dhankuta as pilot for national scheme. Regional TB diagnosis quality control centre established. Transportation of drugs to health posts taken over by local health committees. Women’s Groups adopt project cycle approach.

1997 – Participatory review of BNMT strategy completed. DOTS pilot scheme achieves cure rate of 90% for new TB cases. BNMT clinic in Ilam handed over to the Government. Three-year evaluation of Drug Schemes completed. Cost recovery of up to 130% achieved by some drug shops. Training Unit phased out owing to completion of work.

1998 – Special action project for the elimination of leprosy undertaken in Sankuwasabha district. BNMT supplies 46% of drugs used in government clinics in the Cost Sharing Drugs Scheme. The Hill Drugs Scheme evolves into the Community Hill Drug Scheme; a community run programme at sub-health posts. Women’s groups focus their activities on health needs.

1999 – New partnerships with local organisations entered into and existing partnerships strengthened. Rapid expansion of the DOTS regimen of TB treatment throughout Nepal. Training, workshops and street theatre continue to address the health issues of communities. The child-to-child approach to health education and rational drug use introduced through training courses for teachers and students in Bhojpur and Sankhuwasabha.