Boy Walked Eight Days to Treat Broken Arm

Friday, February 13, 2015

When his eight-year old son Dharmaraj broke his hand while grazing cattle in the remote mountains of Humla, Mansingh Thapa took him to a private clinic in Simkot. It cost Rs 4,500 just to get Dharmaraj’s hand in a cast.??But the pain in the boy’s arm did not subside. Unable to afford a second visit to the clinic, Mansingh packed his belongings, slung Dharmaraj on his shoulders and set off on an eight-day walk to Bayalpata Hospital in Achham district. ?“What could we do? We didn’t have any other choice,” said Mansingh who had heard about Bayalpata from friends who had received free treatment here.

Dharmaraj had surgery and the boy is getting better. The father and son (pictured, right) have been staying at the hospital because it is too far to go back to Humla and return for a followup.

For Bikash Gauchan, who was among South Asian doctors to receive the Jyoti Ramnik Pareskh Award this week in Dhaka for his work as a GP in Bayalpata, this case is unremarkable. There are many patients like Dharmaraj from faraway districts that he has to treat every day in these roadless hills of mid-western Nepal.

“Many of them can’t afford treatment and stay on, so the hospital provides accommodation to the patient and caregiver because it is not possible to ask them to keep going back and forth,” Gauchan told us.

The nearby Sanfebagar airfield hasn’t been in operation since the Maoists destroyed it during the conflict 12 years ago. It takes a rugged day-long bus ride from Surkhet to reach the hospital. But although Bayalpata may feel like it is in the middle of nowhere, the patients here come from even more remote and unserved parts of Nepal.

Word that Bayalpata offers free treatment and medicines has spread far and wide, and although there are government-run hospitals in surrounding districts, most families prefer to bring members here.

Source: Nepali Times (link opens in a new window)

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