Namaste from Tansen!
We’ve just finished 2 weeks here at the United Missions Hospital (UMH) in Tansen. We’ve had an amazing time here and we’re a bit sad to be leaving this beautiful town. Here are some of our thoughts & reflections on our time here in Nepal so far!
The People of Tansen
Meeting the local Nepali people of Tansen has been an amazing experience. We’ve been so amazed by how friendly & hospitable the people are here. We’ve had an opportunity to get to know a few of the local shopkeepers and workers here and have been so inspired by the warm welcome we’ve received from them. Every where we walk, the children are always so excited to say “Namaste” to us and practice their English.
Project: Reducing Error in Pediatric Dosing
The majority of our time here in Tansen was spent working on a project for Dr. Sunil John, an American pediatrician who has been at UMH for 11 years. The project encompassed creating a systematic approach to determine dosing for children that would potentially reduce dosing errors. Our project was based on the Broselow-Luten system that was designed in the U.S. where children are divided into certain weight categories and assigned a color. The color would correspond to a specific dose of drugs that children of that weight should receive. The color coding system was also applied to equipment that was specific for the treatment of children (ie. Intubation equipment). So in the past two weeks, we were able to calculate the weight-specific dose for all the drugs available in the hospital and organize it into the different colors. We then created a database for all the drugs and the equipment and are working on implementing it in the hospital. The system is currently being evaluated by the senior physicians at the hospital and hopefully in a month’s time, the color coding system will hopefully be up and running in the hospital.
United Missions Hospital (UMH)
As for the hospital itself, we’ve also had an opportunity to spend some time touring the hospital and shadowing in the pediatric and medicine wards. It’s been encouraging to see the breadth of care that they provide here.
Some of the different wards and areas of the hospital are as follows:
Operating theatres, Pediatric Ward, Medicine Ward, TB & Leprosy clinic, Pediatric OPD (Out Patient Department), Female Clinic, Male Clinic, ENT
Burn Unit, Echocardiogram, Ultrasound, Pharmacy, Dental Clinic, Physiotherapy, Occupational therapy, Social work & Pastoral care
In addition to that, the UMH also serves as a teaching hospital for many interns who have trained in Russia, China, or other nearby countries. Many training courses are also held here by the various staff and visiting physicians and there is a nursing school that is connected to the hospital.
All in all, it’s been an incredible experience to meet some of the physicians here and see their care and compassion for the Nepali people. It’s inspiring to see the sacrifices they have made in order to come oversees to a developing country to practice medicine in a place that so desperately needs quality health care. The need is so great here – many of the people here suffer from burns, falls, malnutrition and other diseases that would otherwise be preventable or curable in Canada.
Spending time here has also given us a realistic glimpse of what it is like to practice medicine in a developing country. It’s amazing how much we take for granted when it comes to the Canadian healthcare system. While we complain back home about the long wait times in the ER, people here walk for long distances to the nearest hospitals to receive care. In Canada, diagnostic tests can be run in an instant whereas even standard tests for sodium and potassium levels are solely dependent on the amount of reagent available. And here, certain clinics like endoscopy and ENT are only open on certain days because of the lack of staff. There is also a great need for various specialties like orthopedic surgeons and anesthetists.
As medical students, we’ve found it inspiring to be here and it has reminded us of the privilege of being in this profession where our skills can really be used to help so many people in need. We hope that as we continue on in our medical training, what we have experienced and learned from the physicians here will continue to motivate and inspire us.
We’ve really enjoyed our time here and we are looking forwards to the time that we’ll spend in Pokhara and also at the International Friendship Children’s Hospital in Kathmandu.
Brian, Elsa, and Pearl