-  Monday 24 February 2020

US family does Rs 380 m medi-bit for Nepal

Lalitpur, March 26:
Rural folk, dependent on less than a doctor for every 100,000 of the population, can now heave a sigh of relief. The Nick Simons Institute (NSI) is training mid-level healthcare personnel, thanks to the Simons of New York who have provided Rs 380 million to establish NSI in memory of their son Nick Simons.
According to the Nepal Medical Council, while the population in remote areas is dependent on only 0.7 doctors per 100,000 people, Kathmandu has 117 doctors for every 100,000 people.
Jim Simons, late Nick’s father, said the concentration would be on middle-level health workers. “Doctors often go abroad for better opportunities. Hence, training will be provided to mid-level health workers on whom the people have been relying so far. These mid-level workers are more likely to stay on,” said Simons. The non-profit seeking NSI will focus on facilitating high quality healthcare training; provide retention incentives for rural healthcare workers and award scholarships to healthcare leaders. NSI started work two weeks ago.
Nick’s mother Marilyn Simons said NSI was started in his memory because he dreamt of doing something for the people of Nepal.
“Since the medical sector was his field of interest, we thought of opening an institute and training mid-level manpower as most rural hospitals are running without trained doctors or support personnel,” she said.
Nick Simons, who died in 2003 while swimming in Bali, Indonesia, had worked for nine months in Nepal.
The Simons family provided $2 million for building a new maternity ward with 140 new beds in Patan Hospital last year.
Dr Mark Zimmerman, executive director at NSI, said there was a huge difference in the medical facility of the rural and urban areas.
“Need assessment is being done and we are working with the Council of Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT) to provide training,” said Dr Zimmerman. “Training is important but more important is the retention of skilled manpower. For this, there should be retention incentives,” said Dr Bhek Bahadur Thapa, chairperson of NSI. Training will be imparted to assistants in anaesthesia administration, biomedical tech, oral health, mental health as well as to health assistants and auxiliary health workers.
Training will also be given to upper-level healthcare manpower, such as skilled birth attendants and primary trauma care attendees.

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