The Department of Community Programmes at DH is proud of its many partnerships with students from around the world. Together we work, share and experience global health ideas and incentives. Please read below for an update from recent visits:
Global Health Students from St. Cloud State University, Minnesota, USA
From June 12th-15th, 2013, we hosted five students from St. Cloud State University with Prof Christopher Thoms (Sociology and Anthropology) at our Solambhu Outreach Centre. The main objective of the programme was to share the knowledge on global health perspective on the Health status of Nepal; focusing on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges to address Community Health and Development. The major areas of discussion addressed the holistic approach for sustainable community health development in rural areas such as public health issues (e.g. drinking water, water accessibility, sanitation, most common illnesses), community-based development (e.g. women's groups, health education and micro-finance), natural resource and environmental issues (e.g. water, sanitation, community forests, agricultural practices), poverty and inequality in rural areas (poverty, caste inequality, income generating activities).
The module was develop in such a way to give insight for global health students to compare urban and rural community health status by the different perspective fulfilled best through real exposure via presentation, discussion and direct community interaction. Upon arrival at Dhulikhel hospital, global health students were excited by the success story of DH's unique model of community based health services that provide quality health care services at an affordable price for the poorest people of the country. After an almost four hour tour through different hospital departments, our team headed to "Solumbu"—our destination—which is a four hour off-road drive although its only 49 km east from Dhulikhel! In spite of these challenges, the team enjoyed the natural scenery: the river, greenery, paddy fields and geographical diversity of the country. Our love for this natural beauty and the unique architecture of the rural villages made our journey short and enjoyable; and we hardly noticed that the four hour journey had passed. The team was quite enthusiastic and brisk so we toured Solambhu health center, enjoyed a Nepali dinner, then discussed an outline of the module. On the second day, the programme began by introducing the Nepal Health system and the Community Programs of Dhulikhel Hospital followed by group discussion on 'Innovative approaches to rural health care'. The staff in-charge of Solambu did a brief introduction of the health center and its integrated approach for sustainable community health development. After lunch we headed towards the government health center where we did a brief overview of the health services provided by the government; we also discussed the challenges. Then the team visited the public school where midwives from Dhulikhel Hospital conducted a school health programme . The meeting was followed by a discussion with the principal and teachers on the Nepali educational system as wells as the opportunities and challenges it faces in the rural community. The third day was started with our presentation on public health challenges--specifically environmental challenges in rural Nepal, such as water and sanitation issues in Solambhu and another on indoor smoke problems and our related improved cooking stove project. After the presentations, we visited the households involved with our cooking stove project and microfinance programme. We conversed briefly with the family members and the women regarding the benefits of improved cooking stoves on their personal health and environment. Other conversations with the women in ourmicrofinance program revealed life changes that the women contribute to the microfinance programme.
The students were directly exposed to the daily reality of the rural people of Solambu, by observing lifestyle, livelihoods, agriculture, food storage from the grassroots level. The students also attended the women health programme which was conducted by the midwives of Dhulikhel Hospital. After lunch we visited the imminent drinking water project an hour's distance from the outreach center. We observed the area's drinking water source and discussed the future plan of supplying water to the all communities of Solambhu. On our fourth day early in the morning we met people from community forest of Solambhu and also visited their forest. We discussed the benefits of the community forests, room for expansion and methods of increasing the resource benefits with the community forest committee. Finally after lunch on the fourth day of our journey, we headed back towards Dhulikhel.