On 25 April 2015, Nepal was rocked by a massive earthquake of the magnitude of 7.8, leaving in its wake over 9,000 dead and 22,000 injured. This was followed by a 7.3 magnitude earthquake on the same fault on 12 May 2015 resulting in 160+ dead and close to a 1,000 injured. Despite several ensuing relief funds and voluntary work run by numerous organisation across the globe since then, there are people still succumbing to illness and ailments every day because of lack of access to basic health care and funding.
To contribute to the cause and provide free medical and surgical services, Team GMF comprising 12 members from Australia and 30 from America visited the earthquake devastated areas of Nepal from 1 to 5 Jan 2017. The team comprising doctors, surgeons, nurses and humanitarian volunteers, teamed up with local organisations Green City Hospital, Maya Foundation and Lions Club of Kathmandu to ensure maximum outreach of their services.
Close to 3,500 patients were attended to over the 5 day medical camp spanning the regions of Laithpur, Patan, Nala, Hattigauda Commercial Complex, Bagmati and Sindhupal Chowk – the epicentre of the earthquake. The team received a warm welcome at the start of each day, as 100s of hopeful patients with varied ailments queued up patiently waiting to be tended to.
The bus rides to most of the places where the camps were held were rather bumpy and often on roads that were non-existent; with the last day being a 3.5 hour long drive (one-way). However, this did not diminish the enthusiasm of the team, who were determined to provide care to as many patients as was possible in the short span of time. Marquees and tents were set up outdoors to form make-shift consultation rooms. The pharmacy counters set up were manned by efficient Pharmacists from Australia, America and Nepal; and thronged by 100s of patients looking to avail of the free medical supplies.
In parallel to the medical camps conducted, Team GMF also visited an orphanage in Bagmati and donated blankets, winter woollies, stationery, toys, lollies and other goodies. The team also scoured the slums of the suburbs around Kathmandu and handed out essentials to the poor and needy. Despite the dilapidated shacks and deplorable conditions that most of the natives were living in, the one thing that shone clear through all the poverty and despair was their gratitude for the free medical services and medical supplies provided. As we wrapped up the last day of the camp, the one question uppermost on their tongues was, “when will you come again?”
Truly yet another physically intensive yet mentally fulfilling trip has drawn to an end; and plans are already underway for the next. Register as a volunteer today if you want to be part of the movement to ‘heal the world and make it a better place for the entire human race’.