Great enthusiasm, inspiring drive, and big plans. Those words come to mind when you learn about the project, Health Us Nepal, and the man behind it, Marc. Originally from Nepal, he was adopted at age 6 and grew up in Girona, Spain, where he had the opportunity to go to university and become a doctor. Now, at only 28 years old, Marc returned to live in Humla and build a health center to give medical attention to the people in this isolated region in the middle of the Himalayas. Since the opening 6 months ago, he and his colleague have already taken care of more than 5000 people. Every day around 25-30 people come to the health center and on top of that, Marc often does home visits to treat urgent cases. Nicequest is proud to collaborate with Health Us Nepal and offer you the opportunity to turn your Shells into a donation to help drive this forward. We caught up with Marc, which in this case meant waiting for him to get an internet connection, to get an update on this exciting project.
Hello Marc, congratulations on opening the health center, how is everything going?
Currently, the health center has only a pharmacist (Naren Phadera) and a doctor (me, Marc). There is a lot of work and only two people to do the job. Soon a third person will join the team, also a local professional, a Health Assistant (Sabin Bhandari). Despite the difficulties in the procedures, permits, and getting different medicines to Simikot, we are happy with how it is progressing.
What does an average day look like for you?
I live in Simikot, the capital of the Humla region, near our health center. I usually get up between 6:00 – 6:30 am On days when there are electricity and mobile coverage, I try to connect to the Internet. At 8 am I open the pharmacy and the consultation with Naren. Between 4pm and 7pm is when we have the most activity. Patients usually come all at once and want us to take care of them right away. They are not used to standing in line and respecting their turn, so we have had to teach them that little by little. At 8 pm we close the health center and before 10 pm I am already in bed. The day is always hard in Humla. Twice a month, and for about 4 days each time, I go on foot to the villages of Thee and Takla. There I attend to those patients who have not been able to go to Simikot. They are usually older people or people that are very poor.
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What has been the best experience you have had so far in Nepal?
Personally, I’d like to highlight the reunion with my biological family, after 12 years. I was adopted at the age of 6, and my biological family never knew my whereabouts. So to see their faces, the smiles and the looks of happiness when we met again in Humla, without a doubt, was one of the best experiences I had here in Nepal. As a doctor, I would highlight the fact that about two years ago I helped a boy about 6 years old who had fallen about 7 meters and had fractured the humerus of his left arm. He was a boy from a remote village of Humla named Ripa, his father is called Harka (just like my own name in Nepalese). They were of low caste. When he had the accident, his father had taken him to the public hospital in the area where his arm was immobilized with a rigid bandage. He had been wearing this bandage for 3 weeks, and they had not done anything else to help him. When I saw him, he had a black arm and a fever. I immediately told his father that he should be taken to the hospital in Kathmandu to be taken care of because the child’s life was in danger. I told him that surely the arm would no longer be recoverable. The father cried a lot. I helped them financially as much as possible. After about 6 months I met them again on a street near the Nepalganj airport. They recognized me, the father made me a Namaste with both hands, and the boy came running to hug me, with only one arm, and with a big smile. Shortly after this, our Health Us Nepal project began to bring health to Humla.
Is there anything that surprised you during or at the beginning of the project?
We have to be very patient with the bureaucracy in Nepal, not to accept “No” for an answer, and continue on foot. It cost us a lot to get the permits and licenses for the pharmacy, but we finally have them. Another thing that surprises me about Humla is that people that have less are the ones that give more. Many people from villages that have been served by us, come to Simikot, bring us vegetables, fruits and eggs. These people are very grateful.
Do you have future projects in mind?
The next step of our project is to build a polyclinic in Simikot and expand the medical team with nurses, midwives and some specialist doctors (eg Traumatologist, gynecologist). Equip the center with an analysis laboratory and an X-ray machine. This would give us more freedom and capacities to act, both legally and with the right equipment and infrastructure.
What is the reaction of the local population to your project?
In general, most people are very excited and grateful that we have opened the health center and pharmacy in Simikot. They value very much that a person who had “all” facilities and amenities in Spain has returned to his country of origin to help his people. We have a lot of energy and enthusiasm to continue working at Humla and to grow our Health Us Nepal project, and I think we are on the right track. Many thanks to Nicequest and Worldcoo for your interest in our project and for giving us this great opportunity to spread our work. A hug and Health us! To support the efforts of Health Us Nepal, use your Shells to make a donation! Visit the donation section on Nicequest.com, learn more about the project and get involved.