“Creating an environment where children thrive and succeed really is like solving a puzzle.”- Maggie Doyne
In Kopila Valley, health and education go together like two pieces of a puzzle. After opening our school, we realized that kids wouldn’t attend regularly or be able to succeed until they were healthy and nourished – and that they wouldn’t be healthy and nourished until they came to school. That’s why we started the Kopila Valley Health Clinic in 2011. We focus primarily on preventive care, because we’ve also learned that sometimes the smallest things make the biggest difference.
WHY WE BUILT THE KOPILA VALLEY HEALTH CLINIC
Living in Nepal’s remote regions presents many challenges, not the least of which is health. Disease and malnourishment are prevalent. Clean water and sanitation are not. While local doctors and nurses are committed to their patients, the hospitals are understaffed and the quality of care is low. It is a crisis situation. As a result, there is often a fine line between life and death. What might be a simple diagnosis in other parts of the world can be a death sentence here. Or missed altogether. And yet so many health issues can be prevented through proper education and better habits.
WE BELIEVE THAT HEALTH AND EDUCATION WORK HAND IN HAND
A HEALTHY DOSE OF PREVENTION
Our Health Clinic provides preventive and primary care, as well as basic health education, to the students and community of Kopila Valley. Staffed by a full time health technician, a health administrator, and a pharmacist, and assisted by medical professionals from the local community, the clinic provides an integrated approach to health and well-being for the underserved population of Surkhet. The community clinic combines natural holistic methods and modern Western medical treatments to help the residents and children of the area improve and maintain their quality health.
Our full-time clinic administrator and pharmacist works endlessly to keep the Kopila kids healthy and strong. The main focus is on education and prevention, and we find that we’re able to make a big difference through simple solutions like immunizations, good nutrition, clean water stations, dental hygiene, administering vitamins, and regular de-parasiting. We provide the following services for every student at Kopila Valley School:
- Annual physical examination performed at the start of the school year.
- Hearing and vision screening program to identify students needing hearing augmentation or visual acuity correction.
- School-wide anti-parasitic program to decrease intestinal parasites and prevent reintroducing new parasites to the students.
- Extensive dental hygiene program, including daily tooth brushing at school, dental exams by a local dentist and treatment when necessary.
- Tuberculosis screening program to identify cases of active TB and stem the spread in our area.
We perform basic first aid for minor injuries and early treatment for common conditions like mild pneumonia or skin infections. Children suffering more serious or life-threatening conditions – and we’ve unfortunately had our fair share over the years – are brought to the local regional government hospital, Nepal Ganj, and at times Kathmandu or even the U.S. in special cases of extreme generosity.
A COMMITMENT TO MENTAL HEALTH
Many of our children and women face daily battles of stress, depression or other mental health concerns. The consequences can be startling: suicide is the number one killer for girls in Nepal. When a child decides to take her own life as the only way out, something must be done. We opened Surkhet’s first Mental Health and Counseling Center in 2013 as a way to start addressing this important issue, and provide another way for women and children to reach out for help.