International Nepal Fellowship (INF) – Mission of the Month for July
Centre of Excellence
Dr Dipak Maharjan, a Nepali Christian orthopaedic surgeon and specialist in spinal disorders is the newly-appointed Medical Director of Green pastures Hospital (GPH). He is passionate about developing INF’s work at GPH into a centre for health excellence, training and research.
I was raised in a Christian family in Kathmandu. After completing my Masters in Orthopedics at Christian Medical College, Vellore, I served for nine years in the United Mission to Nepal’s hospitals in Okhaldhunga and Tansen. I was responsible for establishing and leading successful orthopedic departments at each institution. My wife, Rachel, is a paediatrician and we have three daughters.
Touched by the plight of those suffering from Spinal Cord Injury [SCI], sadly a growing problem in Nepal, I decided to specialise in spinal disorders. After much prayer and consultation with experienced Christians working in the clinical field, I felt called to lead INF’s clinical work at GPH. Taking up the position in September 2015 I, along with a team of professionals in the sector, have spent the past few months developing a long-term vision for GPH.
GPH will increase its focus on disability related to SCI, spinal disorders, trauma, ear diseases, dermatological diseases, general disabilities including traumatic brain injury, amputations, cerebral palsy as well as other paediatric developmental disorders and palliative care. Previously known for its leadership in leprosy work, GPH’s shift in focus reflects the reduction in new leprosy cases and the increase in disability related to trauma.
A Trauma Rehabilitation Centre is also in the planning to assist those affected by significant falls, industrial injuries and transport injuries – bus accidents are common in Nepal and often see passengers badly injured.
As part of the new vision, upgrades are in progress for the existing operating theatre and wards. INF is working with its financial partners to ensure enough resources are available and INF’s Initiative for Financial Sustainability hopes to create new funding opportunities for GPH’s vital work.
There are challenges ahead but I am excited about GPH becoming a centre of excellence and can already see the community responding as numbers increase at the outpatients clinic and in the wards.
I have a real sense of God’s hand on GPH as it strives to serve those most affected by disability and trauma.
Sounds of Hope and a Future
Nicola McGunnigle writes:
INF’s has taken its ear specialists and medical teams to some of the most remote parts of Western Nepal to help the deaf and those with hearing loss. Since the early 1990s, 50 ear Outreach Programmes (formerly known as ‘Camps’) have been run, and now INF is able to provide constant ongoing ear care with the opening of its Ear Centre in the grounds of GPH.
The Ear Centre opened to coincide with the 51st Outreach Programme, which was held in the centre itself. Dr Mike Smith undertook the first operation at the new centre having been instrumental in making this long-held dream, a reality.
Mike first worked in Nepal in the 1980s and after discovering the extent of ear problems across the country returned in 1990 to establish Ear, Nose & Throat training at the Government’s Western Regional Hospital in Pokhara.
In 1992 the INF Camps Programme began, providing ear care and treatment in partnership with Ear Aid Nepal (UK) and Stiftyng Ohrchirurgie Nepal (SON, a Swiss organisation that supports ear surgery) across remote districts in Western Nepal. It was during these camps that the vision for a training centre came to Mike and long-serving Scottish nurse Ellen Findlay, one of the founders of INF’s medical Camp’s Programme; a vision to continue and develop ear care in Nepal and to provide a place where patients with complications could be referred. The Ear Centre will also work with local government health posts at the outreach locations to help staff identify patients with ear related complications. The Centre also offers speech therapy as an outpatient service.
Several months on from its official opening, the Ear Centre has a dedicated team of passionate staff ensuring services run smoothly. Although the centre will replace much of the work previously done during ear Outreach Programmes, INF will continue to send teams out to remote locations each year. The next Outreach Programme is planned for Gorkha in April.
A special note of thanks goes to SON who contributed a majority of the funds to complete the building and to those involved in supervising the construction, sourcing equipment and recruiting of staff to ensure a successful start.
Please continue to pray for the work at Green Pastures Hospital and the Ear Centre.
For more information about INF contact Margaret Scott Brown