In Nepal, most births take place at home, and many, particularly in rural areas, are not attended by a skilled birth attendant. The women from the rural areas face multiple obstacles during child birth, significantly affecting their health and the safety of their unborn child. Firstly is the lack of transportation to a safe hospital or centre, with no roads and no methods of transportation, traveling by foot is their only means to receive a skilled birth attendant. With the distance of a grueling six hour mountainous hike, the results are devastating, as mothers and babies cannot reach medical facilities in time. The distance and lack of transportation, as well as the lack of awareness on basic delivery care and financial strain the women face for a professional delivery are the central perceived problems. The tragic fact is that the problems these women suffer during child birth, are easily manageable and easily controlled, a long labour, a retained placenta and exessive bleeding, is easily controllable in the hands of a skilled midwife. This needs to be targeted now to give the women their right to a safe child birth, without the factors of cost, distance or transportation inhibiting their life. A birthing centre needs to be readily accessible to support these women.
In the remote district of Solu Khumbu, in the lower Everest region of Nepal amongst the Himalayan mountains many villages exist. It is here where severity makes it beautiful, but also difficult for the people who live here. They face limitations in food, education and health facilities. It is here, where the project to build a centre to promote safe child birth has sparked. The villages in the area are excited at the prospect of a centre with basic child birth assisting facilities. They are enthusiastic to donate their time and labour to create the centre, where lives can be saved, and newborn babies can enter the world safely.
Two very loyal friends and valued supporters of Sonrisa, Cathy Ellis (Senior Instructor, Divison of Midwifery UBC Canada) and Dr. Mickey Rostocker were the two who helped create this idea and merge the villagers needs of a health centre, to provide further care with this birthing centre. They both visited the village of Solyan and recognised their needs, and have brightened the villages future prospects.
Over the past few months, meetings have been held in conjunction with this project between Bishnu Rai and the local villagers in calculating the construction materials, the chosen site of the centre in being accessible to as many people as possible and the time and labour donation in building the centre. The villagers are enthusiastic to begin immediately, with the objective of accomplishing the build before the monsoon season. Work has already began, with the much appreciated funds donated by Pia Brown, which allowed the villagers to purchase timber and begin cutting. In obtaining the construction materials, it will consist of a 6 hour hike in transporting the materials from lower land back to the construction site, carrying materials on their heads up to the village. The required materials are gravel, sand which will be collected from the lower rivers, timber, cement and iron rods to support the structure of the building. Huge rock from the mountains will be manually carved into bricks, and plywood will be carried to build the walls and roof of the centre. There are 80 homes in the area, one man from each home will donate their labour over a period of 8 days in transporting the necessary materials. Once all the materials are readily available, a building company which will need to be hired can then proceed to build as the villagers are not trained in building.
The plan for the building decided with the locals is to be located next to the school, elevated on a hill for the surrounding villages to simply walk to the central site. This building will be accessible to 2000 locals in the area. The building will be a one story build, accessible to wheelchair users with necessary ramps. It will have 4 rooms available in giving birth, storage capacity for medication and equipment for the exhillary nurse. There will also be a meeting room which can hold 40-50 people which can be used as a training room in educating women in the area for pre-natal classes and also as a conference room for general meetings. The nurse will live in the centre for available care 24 hours, 7 days a week, with also telephone access in cases of emergency. There will also be a washroom with fresh running water located within the building. It will consists of all basic amenities necessary in the delivery of a child.
The cost for the birthing centre has reached an estimated total of R.S 850,000 ($10,000) to build. This has been a concise breakdown of the amount of the materials needed and their cost. The transportation of them as stated, is donated by the locals. Not included in the estimation is the cost of the power supply to the building which will most likely be solar power which is the most reliable source of power in the area.
As you can see, $10,000 USD is a relatively small sum of money in helping and saving the lives of so many in this remote are of Nepal, where the women are helpless during what she be a magical moment in delivering and introducing a new born baby into the world, which too often turns into a heartbreaking and tragic event, devastating the local communities. It's a truly life changing project and the help from you can make a change to so many lives here in Nepal who desperately need your help in providing basic health facilities.
This heartbreaking reality runs close within the heart of Bishnu Rai, who devastatingly lost his elder sister and her unborn baby when complications occurred during labour.
Help is needed to prevent such circumstances happening to other families, let the lives that have been lost not be in vain. Donations are required to create this build which without a shadow of a doubt will save lives, and change the future for so many people.