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Experience shared by health volunteers after first week of Volunteering

Health volunteers on donatin

Health volunteers on donatin

Namaste! We are 3 students (Alyssa, Marjolein and Anouk) from the Netherlands. We are volunteering for VIN as health volunteers because of our medical background (Alyssa and Anouk study medicine and Marjolein studies health sciences), our interest in the Nepali culture and our desire to help the local people in Nepal. We are participating in the public health project to improve health of local communities around Kathmandu.

We started our week with an introduction at VINs office. We learned about the Nepali language, culture and country. We also learned more about the goals of VIN and what kind of projects they are doing in Nepal. On the second day of the introduction we did some sightseeing in Kathmandu with the other volunteers. At the end of the introduction we were placed at our host family in Kavresthali. Our long prepared trip became real!

After the first two days of introduction, we received more information about our own project and started working on our own campaign. The campaign is about women’s health and will cover the female reproductive system, diseases regarding the reproductive system and menstruation. Together with Jyoti (a local volunteer) we prepared four posters. One poster is about women’s health, covering the anatomy and physiology of the female reproductive organs, and menstruation problems and hygiene. The other posters were about diseases regarding the reproductive system, namely pelvic inflammatory disease, uterine prolapse and cervical cancer.

As health volunteers of VIN, we felt really excited for the first campaign! The first health workshop was in Thumki, a small village which is a 15 minutes’ walk from Kavresthali. A group of approximately 15 women came to listen to our presentation. A big pile of potatoes was pushed aside to make room for everyone. We introduced ourselves and started talking. Jyoti translated what we said in Nepali and asked whether there were any questions. The women seemed really interested as they were already facing some of the problems and could relate with the disorders and diseases we talked about. After the presentation the women asked some questions, especially about family planning. We finished the workshop with measuring and recording blood pressure of the women, which were often surprisingly low.

On Tuesday we were helping at the health post in Kavresthali. This Tuesday was the first time we went there to meet the local staff. They showed us the rooms in the health post and the system that is used to see patients and store patient information. When Dr. Laxmi arrived we had a small gathering to donate medical equipment to the health post. Alyssa had done a fundraising at home to support the clinic. The following items were donated to the clinic: Needles, gloves, masks, electric thermometers, pulse oximeter, blood pressure measurement machine, syringes, cloths, painkillers, antiseptic and a blood analysing machine to set up a pathology lab in the health clinic. In the afternoon we saw some patients together with Dr. Laksmi. We saw a men with gingivitis and a woman with low blood pressure. We recorded the data and helped with measuring the blood pressure.

We are looking forward to the next week!

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