Friday, 29 May 2015

Nepal Update

It’s just over one month since the earthquake in Nepal on 25 April that killed over 8,800 people and injured more than 23,000.  With subsidiary quakes and aftershocks there have been a total of over 25 earthquakes in the past 7 days; 93 earthquakes in the past month and 104 earthquakes in the past year.  Additionally the monsoon season has now started, further complicating life for those living in tents and temporary shelters and those involved in the relief effort. 
Running for shelter from the monsoon
The global team at the Royal College of Midwives has been in regular communication with the Midwifery Society of Nepal (MIDSON) since immediately after the first earthquake, Skyping every few days to offer psychological and technical support and also giving financial support through our fundraising campaign. . We've also been liaising with other agencies, both in Nepal and in the UK, to ensure that there is no duplication and that aid gets to where it's most needed.

Regular Skype Calls
So far we’ve raised just over £10,000 through our online campaign and approximately £3,000 through other donations.  What a fantastic response!  The first tranche of money transferred to MIDSON has been put to good use supporting an outreach programme to the worst affected districts.  In association with UNICEF and the Ministry of Health and Population’s Family Health Division, nine nurse-midwives have been recruited and deployed to work alongside government health services in primary health clinics in remote areas, supporting the development of midwifery skills and taking much needed aid and medical supplies.  The RCM’s contribution has enabled MIDSON to hire trainers and supervisors to prepare and support these nurse midwives and a programme manager to ensure the successful delivery of the project. The nurse midwives have been issued with tents and sleeping mats, raincoats and dried food to ensure their comfort and safety.  Kiran Bajracharya, President of MIDSON, said ‘I am so impressed with the dedication of these young nurse midwives to travel far away from home to help those communities affected by the earthquake.  They are so enthusiastic and happy to help’.
Training the outreach nurse-midwives

Training at the MIDSON office before deployment

MIDSON also want to develop a programme of support for women and staff in Kathmandu’s maternity hospitals.  Kiran explains: ‘with the trauma that both women and staff have experienced and the pressure on services, there is a lack of basic midwifery care.  Women need someone to show them love and compassion, a therapeutic touch.  We need to support hospital staff in providing respectful maternity care.  Women are not getting the support they need to breastfeed their babies. We want to employ some ‘midwifery ambassadors’ to reach out to women and staff in the maternity hospitals with love and compassion and we want to use the RCM money to help us with that’.
loading the trucks with supplies and with midwives before their long journey up-country
Finally, the RCM has been very touched by many of the comments from those who have donated through our just giving page and the creativity in raising funds.  Here’s a selection of some of those comments:

I would like all other women to have the same midwifery care as I was able to’.

On International Day of the Midwife the Supervisors of Midwives at Newham Hospital hosted a cake sale; with the help of some budding Mary Berrys and the generosity of all who supported us we raised this money for the mothers and babies of Nepal’.

A donation to help colleagues in Nepal help women safely birth their babies who will bring a little happiness in this sad time’.

This is Nepal's future’.

Good luck to all my fellow midwives working in such a tough environment. Your dedication is inspirational and the lives you save will never forget that’.

Thanks to everyone who has donated so far. The RCM has been doing its bit too. We have taken collections at various events around the country and staff have been donating their own money, baking cakes and selling them at work.  I held a garden party for 30 friends and neighbours on bank holiday Monday and we raised over £300.  What could you do? 

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