About Medical Outreachers...
Medical Outreachers Hong Kong (MO) is a non-governmental organization initiated by medical students from CUHK and HKU. MO aims to cultivate and develop the passion of medical students in not only practicing medicine but also reaching out to care for others through various humanitarian actions. Therefore, MO has cooperated with other NGOs to organize different service trips at local, regional and international levels for medical students. Through these services, we hope to create lasting improvements on the lives of those we have reached out to, and in the process, inspire medical students towards positive personal development.
Namtar Village is rural area situated in Makwanpur District of southern Nepal. We've identified four major health issues in our pilot trip in January 2016:
- Inadequacy and underutilization of existing healthcare services
- Lack of health awareness and practice towards personal hygiene and water-borne diseases
- Lack of awareness on maternal health and infant care
- Prevalence of smoking and over alcohol consumption
We hope to improve the public health of Namtar village by strengthening health awareness, facilitating and promoting the use of existing health services, and encouraging behavioral change that can decrease diseases. We aim to achieve this through close collaboration with local communities, and ultimately encouraging community ownership and empowerment.
About Project Namtar…
Project Namtar is a 3-year medical-based project in Namtar, a village community in Nepal's Makwanpur District. Initiated by Medical Outreachers (MO), it aims to strengthen health awareness and encourage behavioral change that can decrease disease morbidity. Through close collaboration with local communities, the project aims to promote community ownership and empowerment to achieve sustainable impacts. Apart from that, Health In Action (an NGO in Hong Kong) will be collaborating with MO by sending two medical professionals to help us on site and provide professional advice throughout the project.
During our first official visit in June 2016, MO executed health education programs to promote awareness of water- borne diseases, sanitation, and hygiene, amongst other topics. A health camp was also hosted, and household visits were conducted to obtain data in assessing villagers’ knowledge, attitude, and behavior on different aspects of health.
Project Namtar 2 is part of our long-term project in the remote Namtar village of Nepal’s Makwanpur district. In our previous visits, we conducted household surveys and focus group studies and identified various health gaps. These include:
A) Low access to health education/information
B) Underutilization of available health service
C) Lack of health awareness and practice, particularly on personal hygiene, water-borne diseases, and maternal & neonatal health. This reflects in high morbidity rate.
Our project aims to improve their access to health education. We hope to raise health awareness and promote behavioral change that can decrease disease morbidity. This is important as the current health gap is substantial; there's a lot to improve.
What did we achieve last year?
Health education and promotion: school children, patients at the health camp, and villagers from households were able to demonstrate what they learnt after our health education sessions. This was especially so for the steps of teeth-brushing and hand-washing. School children also managed to answer the post-lesson quiz. These suggest our service targets’ immediate raised awareness.
Health camp: We invited local doctors to provide free medical consultation to villagers. 800 patients were served, among which there were urgent cases that would have led to severe consequence without appropriate care. Patients were satisfied with the services, and the local clinic reported that patients came back for follow-up visits. This was an encouraging sign, as it suggested our effectiveness in encouraging the utilization of existing local services.
Household visits: 184 households were visited and surveyed, which allowed us to obtain a sizable sample of data on the community’s health knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors in the following areas: water supply & practice, sanitation practice, disease morbidity/mortality and management, handwashing practice, and maternal & neonatal health. This has proven to be an effective tool for our quantitative evaluation and assessment.
What we are doing this year?
1.Health education at local schools
•Address the lack of health awareness, particularly of water-borne diseases and poor hygiene
•Conduct health education sessions at 2 secondary schools and 3 primary schools
•Lessons aim to improve knowledge, attitude, and behavior on personal hygiene, nutrition, common infectious diseases, and adolescence growth
•Organize health talks for parents to address childhood disease management
2.Health camp: promote the use of existing health services
•Organize a health camp at the local community clinic
•Provide free basic health checkups, conduct health education, promote current facilities at local clinic
3.Household visits for evaluation and targeted health education
•Evaluate previous initiatives and tailor our future endeavors to the community’s most updated needs
•Household visits: survey villagers’ health knowledge and practices, and provide targeted health education
4.Empowering locals to become self-sufficient
•Aim to empower villagers to take ownership of health promotion in the community
•Will train teachers to teach our health education materials in the future
5.Build capacity of local clinic
- The community currently only has one local clinic and one government health post as their immediate source of health service
- We hope to donate various essential equipment to the local clinic - ones which they currently lack
- With these equipment in place, the clinic could greatly expand on its range of services, e.g. in handling neonatal cases
- Equipment list includes: digital blood pressure machine, battery powered light source for when electricity goes out at night, electrocardiogram machine, heart rate monitor, SPO2 (estimate amount of oxygen in blood), doppler machine for listening to fetal heart