From New Mexico To Nepal : Women’s Community Center, Bahunipati

Building resilient communities to “Build Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction

A collaborative team consisting of a student group from the University of New Mexico (UNM4Nepal), Kathmandu University, Dhulikhel Hospital Kathmandu University Hospital, Pratiman-Neema Memorial Foundation (PNMF), the Department of Civil Engineering, and the Nepal Study Center of the University of New Mexico begins a construction project in Bahunipati: the Women’s Community Center Project. The project is to last for one month (May-June), and the team hopes to change the rural reconstruction paradigm by focusing on “building resilient communities” to “Build Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction. Importantly, the UNM team hopes to teach local community members a simple and sustainable construction method, known as the earth-bag technique.

The UNM4Nepal student led project’s final design evolved after an extensive discussion between the student group and the Nepal-based collaborators. The project was conceived as a two-part civil engineering class (Fall 2015; Spring 2016) and as an interdisciplinary and inter-departmental initiative under the mentoring advisement of Dr. Mark Stone of Civil Engineering and Dr Alok Bohara of the Department of Economics. Valuable input and cooperation was provided by Dr. Biraj Karmacharya and his colleagues from Dhulikhel Hospital Kathmandu University Hospital and other Nepali partners, volunteers and coordinators, and exceptional leadership was displayed by the UNM4Nepal student president (Jennifer Van Osdel) and vice-president (Lo Jaramillo).

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UNM students and faculty building women’s community center in Nepal

Nepal Study Center


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Health workers training program in response to COVID-19

Pratiman-Neema Memorial Foundation partnered with Brown University, Project Hope, Nepal Study Center, The University of New Mexico, and the Ministry of Social Development of Province 5 of Nepal to organize no-cost “Train-the-Trainer program” on Strengthening Health Workforce Preparedness and Response to COVID-19.

The training program has been organized to provide the critical skills and knowledge necessary for health workers to respond rapidly and efficiently to COVID-19 in Nepal. This partnership has been designed to engage master trainers and coach new trainers in order to quickly build a cadre of competent instructors in Nepal, who can then train other health workers in their community, or “scale down” the training to ensure widespread adoption of the critical skills and knowledge necessary for health workers to respond rapidly and efficiently to COVID-19 in their workplaces and communities while protecting their own health. To ensure appropriate social distancing, the instructors have taught the course on digital platforms, including tele-training and online interactive training modules. The curriculum has been designed in line with WHO standards best practices and guidelines.

In the first level of the training program, 19 medical health professionals such as doctors, nurses, public health workers, medical practitioners from 5 different districts (Rupandehi, Dang, Pyuthan, Gulmi, Bardia) of Province 5 were selected for the Master Trainer program. The four days of the intensive online training program were organized from 11th May 2020 to 14th May 2020.

In the second level of the training program, the trainers scaled down to transfer their knowledge and skills to train other health workers in their hospitals, districts, and other local communities. 8 trainers completed the training session with 1800 participants from 1st September to 25th October 2020.

Nepal Study Center of the University of New Mexico partnered in the designing pre and post-test in the second level of the training program. The quantitative and qualitative research analysis has been completed further for the impact evaluation.


NEPAL COVID-19 TOT Summary Page 

COVID-19 Four Days Training Modules and Materials

Brief Background of Global Health Worker Training Program

Nepal COVID-19 TOT Schedule

Day 1: Background on COVID-19

The first day of the training session covers the background information on COVID-19; Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) measures and strategies in health care and community settings. This also includes video demonstrations of the relevant topic.
[Trainers:  Dr. John Foggle, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.] 

Background Module: Introduction to Response Training

Infection, Prevention and Control-IPC Module

Simulation: No Touch Policy

Simulation: Protecting Health Care Workers

Day 2:  Surveillance and Contact Tracing

The second day of the training program holds the session related to Surveillance concepts including active and passive contact tracing and the approach to response. It also includes other main topics such as screening and triage along with the case exercises.
[Trainers: Dr. Naz Karim, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.] 

Surveillance Module

Screening and Triage Module

Simulation: Screening and Triage

Training Exercise: Surveillance (Contact Tracing )

Day 3: Diagnosis and Disease Management

The third day of the training program covers the topics related to understanding the concepts, protocols, approaches, and guidelines for Diagnosis and Management. This also includes Stabilization and Resuscitation sessions along with informative video demonstrations.
[Trainers: Dr. Stephanie Garbern, Assistant Professor in Emergency Medicine at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.] 

Diagnosis and Management Module

Stabilization and Resuscitation Module

Simulation Case: A Stable Patient with Suspected Case

Day 4: Risk Communication and Messaging

The fourth day of the training program highlights the concepts, principles, tools and approaches for Risk Communication and Messaging including impacts of stigma and approaches to reduce stigmatization. This also includes other main topics such as Operations and Medical Surge Capacity Development including table topic exercises.
[Trainers: Dr. Ramu Kharel, Emergency Medicine doctor from UT Southwestern Medical Center.]

Surge Capacity and Development Module

Risk Communication and Messaging Development Module

Training Exercises: Risk Communication and Public Health Messaging

Table Topic Exercise


Please click here for more details

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PNMF Converts Its Building to Quarantine and Holding Center

Pratiman-Neema Memorial Foundation, after the COVID-19 outbreak has provided its institution building and other utilities to quarantine stranded people in the Nepal-India border. This includes labor workers, women, children, and elderly people. On 1st April 2020, more than 300 people were stranded in the Sunauli Border area in Western Nepal. With the purpose of helping the needy people during this crisis situation, PNMF offered a four-storied building located in Siddharthanagar, Rupandehi district of Province 5 to the Government of Nepal for quarantine. This comes at a time when the lockdown was enforced both in Nepal and India over fears of the deadly spread of COVID-19 pandemic. Nepal’s Government is still facing huge challenges to make arrangements for the stranded people in the border area.

On 1st April 2020, 156 stranded Indian nationals in Nepal side border were quarantined in the PNMF’s building in Nepal providing all the necessary facilities for 25 days. After the quarantine period, they were sent back to India by the Government of Nepal in coordination with the concerned agencies, and the Government of India. PNMF has continued to support by providing its building and other utilities for the stranded people on the Nepal-India border. The remaining 144 Nepalese nationals on Indian side border were quarantined in Sunauli in India and they have been brought back to Nepal too after the quarantine period.

At present, 73 Indian nationals are quarantined in the building and this support will be continued for battling together against the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. Hon. Minister Sudarshan Baral, Ministry of Social Development of Province 5, Mr. Hari Adhikari, Mayor of Siddharthanagar Municipality along with other officials, political leaders, social leaders, and the general public greatly appreciated and thanked PNMF for providing support with the building to quarantine stranded people in the Nepal-India border.

PNMF offered its four-storied building located in Siddharthanagar, Rupandehi district to the Government of Nepal for a quarantine facility. This comes at a time when the lockdown was enforced both in Nepal and India over fears of the deadly spread of COVID-19 pandemic. Every day around 1000 to 1500 Indian and Nepalese nationals used to travel to Nepal from India during the lock downstate. Therefore, the collaboration of PNMF with the Ministry of Health, Siddharthanagar Municipality, District Administration Office (Rupandehi district), Nepal Army, and Nepal Armed Police helped thousands of stranded people of the border area to reach their respective destinations or homes. In addition, PNMF also partnered with local organizations to install hand washbasins and water tanks in the holding center. UNICEF also took the initiative to build temporary toilets, install hand washbasins and provide drinking water facilities. Even taking female hygiene into consideration, PNMF distributed menstrual hygiene kits to stranded women and girls who were brought to the holding center.

Acknowledgment letter issued by Siddharthanagar Municipality of Rupandehi district for support of quarantine building during COVID-19

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PNMF donates Medical Supplies to combat the Novel Corona virus

Pratiman-Neema Memorial Foundation donated emergency medical supplies to hospitals and medical clinics in Rupandehi district of Province 5. On April 8th 2020, the first batch of supplies of 1500 surgical masks was donated to the Government’s Emergency Management Committee in Rupandehi district of Province 5. PNMF handed over the surgical masks to Mr. Mahadev Pant, CDO, and Chairman of District Emergency Preparedness and Management Commitment of Rupandehi district.

The second batch of supplies of 21 sets of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Hand Gloves, Boots, Face Shields and Sanitizers were donated to two Government hospitals; the Lumbini Provincial Hospital and Bhim Hospital and three rural municipalities; Rohini Rural Municipality, Om Satiya Rural Municipality, and Siyari Rural Municipality of Province 5. On April 13th 2020, Ms. Swati Thapa, Executive Director and Mr. Dharma K.C, Director of PNMF handed over medical supplies to Dr. Rajendra Prasad Khanal, Chief Medical Superintendent of the Lumbini Provincial Hospital and Dr. Naveen Darnal, Medical Superintendent of Bhim Hospital.

Hon. Minister Sudarshan Baral, Ministry of Social Development of Province 5 greatly appreciated and thanked PNMF for providing support with the quarantine building and providing essential medical supplies during the time of crisis and shortages. With the small contribution, for creating a big difference, PNMF aims to support the health workers working in the frontline during this COVID-19 crisis situation.

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Air Pollution Monitoring in Rohini Urban Municipality

PNMF installed air quality sensors and collected primary data on pollution counts from Province number 5. The high pollution count was established in one spatial point in Rohini Urban Municipality, Rupandehi district, Province 5 during December 2018, with the use of air quality sensor called Purple Air (outdoor air pollution tracking device). PNMF will be expanding data collection from wider spatial areas across the urban landscape of Rohini Urban Municipality. The collected data will be made available soon to the public viewing through dashboard and e-portal. Air quality is a complex and multidimensional challenge so we need joint efforts to be able to create awareness, develop extensive database, monitoring and evaluation, and policy interventions according to the needs of the communities.

To know more about air pollution live data of PM 2.5 of Rohini, click here

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Community Level Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plant

To keep the surrounding of the Rohini Nature Habitat environmentally clean, we propose to implement a community level domestic wastewater treatment plant. Domestic wastewater is water with added pollutants from the use of household activities such as bathing, cooking, defecating, showering, urinating, washing etc. The composition of common domestic wastewater, also known as grey water, is made up of 70% organics including carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Two types of domestic wastewater are black water and grey water. Black water, on the other hand, consists of human fecal & urine in high concentration and usually contained in a septic tanks.

This project proposes to treat grey water by using the method of the Waste Stabilization Ponds (WSPs) System for the purpose of its reuse in irrigation system. That is, a WSPs System can clean and then re-use the household domestic grey water for edible crop agriculture called restricted irrigation. Its purpose is also to promote urban garden movement.

A WSP is a natural treatment method which simply holds domestic grey water over time to remove pollutants with either an aerobic, with oxygen, or anaerobic, without oxygen process The aerobic process involves using algae, sunlight, and photosynthesis to produce oxygen to allow oxidization of the domestic grey water to naturally clean pollutants reducing a small amount of organic matter and as large amount of fecal bacteria. The anaerobic process involves using gravity to allow sedimentation of the domestic grey water to naturally clean pollutants reducing a larger amount of organics and a small amount of fecal bacteria. [In collaboration with the Nepal Study Center of the U. of New Mexico and its research team: Dr. Alok K. Bohara (Professor, Department of Economics), Brandon DeFlon (Graduate Student, Statistics & Civil Engineering) & others.] Continue Reading >>

REMP Citizen Science

PNMF has recently initiated to expand a successful pilot program of “DEMP” initiative in Rohini Urban Municipality as a part of the Rohini Urban Forests and Wildlife Habitat (RUFWH). This project is a collaboration between PNMF, Rohini Urban Municipality and 7 public and private schools located in the surrounding areas. Project has initiated the concept of citizen science for scientific collection of data in different parameters in Rohini River. The Rohini Ecological Monitoring Program “REMP” aims for awareness, collection of data and run effective programs to preserve its biodiversity and wildlife habitat. REMP has the potential to follow in the program’s footsteps and achieve tangible positive change in the area. The primary data collection of REMP will be started on December 2019.

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One Clinic, One School, One Temple

As a consequence of the recent earthquakes some 10,000 schools, more than 600 health clinics and close to 550 cultural heritage sites have been damaged.  In many rural areas, clinics are used as community centers promoting awareness campaigns such as reproductive health, health literacy, and, in some cases, even conducting micro finance and micro health insurance programs.

For spiritual Nepali people, the destruction  of so many temples in the Kathmandu valley was especially heart-wrenching.  But the destruction was wide spread and many individuals value the temples as much as, or more than their own homes: when asked about her damaged home, a woman in a village in Sankhu, pointed to a temple and pleaded for help.  This was the motivation for the 1-1-1 concept.

Taken together, the clinic, the school, and the temple can be a social capital building vehicle. Thus, PNMF and its collaborators believe that the best way to rebuild Nepal’s villages is to begin at their hearts: by re-building the clinics, the schools, and the temples that provide the lifeblood of a community. To that end, PNMF is proposing to use Bahunepati as a model project.

Once this project is completed in Bahunepati, the lessons learned there in terms of design, execution, and community participation will be used in other communities to promote similar construction projects.

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