Feature: Bringing health care right into Nepali homes

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, May 21, 2014
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There is an old adage in Nepal that says if you are thirsty, you have to look for a pond.

But in this Himalayan nation, the patient no longer has to look for a hospital or a health center to be treated. The Nursing Care at Home Pvt Ltd (NCAH) has turned the whole notion of health care service upside down by providing medical services to patients right at their own doorsteps.

Since the start of the operation of NCAH, popularly known as Home Care, a couple of years ago, patients no longer have to rush to medical centers to get the desired health services.

Registered in December 2010, with an initial investment of 4, 255 U.S. dollars, the center based at Mid-Baneshwor, Kathmandu started operations in 2012.

Such has been the affect of modernization in this poor South Asian country that almost all the once closely-knit families have gone nuclear while with the rapid brain drain and labor migration, most of the old parents and grandparents are left alone in homes.

"The aged, isolated, chronically ill and emotionally fragile are our targets because they need continuous medical assistance and utmost care," Pratiksha Adhikary, Director of NCAH, told Xinhua on Tuesday.

Adhikary and Yamuna Dhungel, both in their mid 20s and once professional nurses, are behind this novel health care service, the first of its kind in the whole of Nepal.

According to Nepal's Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), there are a total of 123 state-run hospitals across the country while another 378 are privately-owned.

"We know the plight of the patients, especially elderly and those who are alone in their homes. They have difficulties in going to hospitals and health centers. So, we go to them," Dhungel said.

Dhungel said that in most hospitals, the patients are subjected to a lot of hassles which the elderly could not cope with.

Because of its unique service, the NCAH is now a household name in Kathmandu.

So far, the center has already served more than 60 patients, 95 percent of them elderly with various ailments ranging from pulmonary infections such as asthma and pneumonia to more serious cases of dementia, Alzheimer, and even cancer.

With 45 medical staff (all nurses) committed to work round the clock, the center has succeeded in winning the trust of its target group including parents of non-resident Nepalis (NRNs), businessmen and professionals.

"We give medical service at the patients' own home no matter which age group they belong to and what illnesses or diseases they have," Adhikary said.

He said their concept is to serve the patients who have already received prior medical attention but still need for regular follow- up treatment and continuous monitoring of their health condition. "Rehabilitation and post-illness service is our core focus while those who want to be cured at home rather than spending months in a hospital bed also come within our purview," Adhikary said.

Adhikary said that because of their limited staff, they have not been able to serve patients outside of Kathmandu although they have received frequent calls from other cities.

The center also offers a full range of laboratory services such as blood, stool-urine, sputum and pregnancy tests.

The NCAH also provides nursing care services including private nurses, dressing, injection, physiotherapy and intensive care for elderly people. The center has morning, day and night shifts.

According to Adhikary, NCAH wants to make its services available to every needy family regardless of their income. He said their ultimate goal is to set up a rehabilitation center for the elderly in the near future. Endi

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