"Now that we have sufficient PPE set in our health post, we are confident in providing quality health services" said, Health Assistant, Bimala Khamchha Magar.
Nayar Health post is located at Bagnashkali Rural Municipality of Palpa. The population composition of this municipality mostly includes indigenous people like Magar and Kumal and Dalit. Before the establishment of Nayar Health Post, there was no birthing centre nearby, so, people used to go Tansen for delivery services. Now, the health post has been providing services for various health related problems and regular check-up and delivery service for pregnant women.
After the announcement of lockdown by the government on 24th March, various initiatives were taken for raising awareness through radio, television, social medias etc. Different kinds of information have been aired through local FM for raising awareness and promoting preventive measures. Health post also conducted awareness program at the community about COVID-19 preventive measures.
Before lockdown, in average 60 people used to get service form the health post per day, but later the number decreased to 20-25. In the beginning, there was a lot of fear among the people. Those who had fever and cough did not get proper treatment due to lack of safety materials in health post. They were informed about PPE set, thermal gun, mask, gloves, sanitizer through TV and media but those were not available at the health post. Magar said "in the beginning of COVID-19 Pandemic, we did not have any safety materials in health post, not even a mask and sanitizer. So, when patients came at the health post, we gave them medicine from distance and did counselling keeping them outside the office".
The health workers opened health post regularly but hesitated to provide the service as there wasn’t any safety measures. Even the patients weren’t happy and confident about the service being provided. Magar added, "after our continuous request, the rural municipality office provided us 1 PPE set. However, it was not sufficient for all of us."
Mahila Adhikar Manch and Agriculture groups formed under ActionAid Nepal and its partner SRDCN visited the heath post and discussed about providing quality service after being informed about the situation from the community. However, due to the lack of health safety materials, providing quality service was impossible. In response to the concern, with the support from ActionAid Nepal, SRDCN provided 5 PPE set and other health materials to the health post in coordination with District Health Office, and ward office.
As a result of the support, even during the lockdown more than 40 patients received different health services regularly. Health workers became more confident to check patients and provide counselling. Nilkantha Neupane, Health Post in-charge said, ''some of our part time staff were thinking of resigning due of the fear of COVID-19 as providing service was risky. After receiving the PPE set they are happy and confident".