ASTI Trustee Col Paul Pettigrew Visits Nepal
Report on a visit to Kathmandu 9 to 16 March 2009
by ASTI Trustee Colonel Paul Pettigrew.
ASTI Trustee Colonel Paul Pettigrew visited Nepal in March this year to assess the progress of Burns Violence Survivors-Nepal (BVS-Nepal). He was also there to further the programme to support the Nepal Post-Graduate Plastic Surgery Training Programme. This is a joint initiative between the British Consultancy Charitable Trust (BCCT) and the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) to train more Nepalese Plastic Surgeons.
Currently there are no Plastic Surgeons at the Bir Hospital to support the many victims in the Bir Hospital Burns Unit. The Bir hospital is the oldest and one of the busiest hospitals in Nepal. It was established in July 1889 by Bir Samsher Janga Bahadur Rana and is located at the center of Kathmandu.
M Annapurna Nepal is the poorest country in Asia and the 14th poorest in the world. In addition, the poverty of some excluded ethnic groups in Nepal is almost double the national average. The country has undergone great political and social change. In November 2006, a deal was struck between the government and the Maoists ending ten years of civil war during which 13,000 people were killed. Following constituent assembly elections in April 2008, in which the Maoists won the largest number of seats, the monarchy was abolished.
With just 8 weeks remaining for completion of the constitution-drafting process and loads of work left to be done, political parties have agreed, albeit in hushed tones, that it will be impossible to meet the deadline of 28 May. The situation in Nepal therefore remains fragile.
Burns Violence Survivors-Nepal (BVS-Nepal)
BVS-Nepal was set up in 2009 subsequent to the passing of The Domestic Violence and Punishment Act 2009, and to meet the growing demand for the proper treatment of burn victims. The Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare of Nepal also decided to set up service centres in 15 districts of the country. The centres would be established in such places where the number of incidents of domestic violence against women is high and the government’s presence is poor. The centres will provide victims with security, treatment, and rehabilitation, as well as such services as legal aid and psychological counselling.
Vision – The vision of BVS-Nepal is the elimination of burns violence in Nepal while supporting and rehabilitating survivors to lead healthy and rewarding lives.
Mission – The mission of BVS-Nepal is to support and help survivors of burns violence and to help prevent the occurrence of burns violence through a network of partnerships.
Strategy – BVS-Nepal is dedicated to rehabilitating survivors of burns violence with an integrated/ holistic approach, while working to prevent the occurrence of burns violence in Nepal.
To achieve these goals they have identified three strategic aims where they must focus their attention. They are:
- Developing and maintaining local capacity to rehabilitate survivors with an integrated/holistic medical approach.
- Establishing a sustainable organisation to co-ordinate the integrated medical approach, the network of partnerships and prevention.
- Prevention of burns violence through training and advocacy/awareness campaigns.
BVS-Nepal has set up an office in the south of Kathmandu near Jawalakhel. We have a very influential Chairman in Pramada Shah, and the Board of Trustees has recently agreed a 3-year Strategic Plan to implement the above strategy. They have also:
- Had meetings with the Nepal Orthopaedic Hospital (NOH) to discuss a potential partnership.
- Established a partnership with Nepal Plastic Surgery Aspatal to treat patients from Bir Hospital Burns Unit who are ready for skin grafting or Plastic Surgery.
- Developed a relationship with Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital so that a partnership can be nurtured to help the Burns Unit there.
- Developed a relationship with Kanti Children’s Hospital so that a partnership can be nurtured to organise future burns training.
Nepal Post-Graduate Plastic Surgery Training Programme.
After meetings with Dr Shanker Rai at the Model Hospital and Dr Lohani at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital it was established that they have submitted Post-Graduate Plastic Surgery syllabus’s to the Nepalese authorities. This syllabus will be supported by teams of specialists provided by BAPRAS and delivered by BCCT.
These teams would also provide support for burn victims identified by BVS-Nepal whilst in Nepal. The eventual aim is that the graduates of the Post-Graduate Plastic Surgery Training Programme will serve a period at the Bir Hospital thereby solving the predicament of treating the many victims from Bir Hospital Burns Unit in the Bir Hospital itself.Bir Hospital
We are indebted to Wendy Marston, a key ally and fundraiser for BVS-Nepal and the chief volunteer at the Bir Hospital’s Burns Unit. Wendy and her husband Robin have lived in Kathmandu for 33 years and their daughter Alison works on a part time basis in the UK ASTI Office.
Wendy organised a lunch for Paul Pettigrew to meet some people interested in supporting BVS-Nepal. This included Pratima Pande, MBE the President of the Nepal Britain Society. She had, quite unusually, gone to school at Gordonstoun.
Gordonstoun is known for its extensive extracurricular activities and is famed for having educated three generations of British royalty including The Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Charles.
She announced that her husband’s bank, the Nepal Investment Bank, would contribute NRS 50,000 to BVS Nepal. Wendy also introduced 9 months old Puja Bhatt, named after a Bollywood heroine, whose mother Flora had been Rescued from a brick kiln on a hot day in May. Flora had only recently died but Puja has made friends with five rescued dogs, and a flock of ducks, recovered from the local butcher. Puja makes friends
So a big thank you to the Marston family for all their help in the Bir Hospital’s Burns Unit and the setting up of BVS-Nepal.
Posted on April 16th 2010 by Col. Paul Pettigrew in Blog