Reviewing the early days of Lalgadh Leprosy hospital

We are almost ready to launch our newly redesigned website.

It has been a nostalgic journey as we looked through old photographs and revisited stories about the early days of Lalgadh Leprosy Hospital and the subsequent establishment of Nepal Leprosy Trust.

You can read about our founder Eileen Lodge (1925 – 2019) who passed away in late last year. Eileen’s contribution to leprosy work in Nepal is immense. She established leprosy treatment and rehabilitation centres in Pokhara, Kathmandu, Lalgadh, and Dharan. She gave up her British citizenship and became a Nepali citizen, living in Nepal for 66 years.  Read more about her life here.

Bir Bahadur Thapa, circa 1993. ©NLT

Bir Bahadur (above) as he worked in Lalgadh hospital, circa 1993. One of his tasks at that time was cutting and making different size bandages from large rolls of gauze. He has now retired. Quite a few of the staff from those early years are still working in the hospital today.

Hem, who now manages Ashako Pariwar, was chatting to Bir Bahadur as he returned home one evening last week (end of August 2020) from his rice field. His field is situated just beside the hospital and Ashoka Pariwar.  They chatted about those early days when Bir Bahadur worked in the Inpatient Department and out about the field work that both himself and Hem undertook in the community. As you can see from the photo below Bir Bahadur is looking really well and healthy.

Bir Bahadur Thapa, content in his retirement from Lalgadh Leprosy Hospital. Photo: ©Hem NLT

The challenge of Care in COVID crisis

Pharmacist Sitala. Photo: Pradip Karki © NLT 2020

Sitala Devi Sharma (above) is the pharmacist at Lalgadh Leprosy Hospital. She has lived on the hospital campus, with her family for the last 25 years. Three members of her family work in the hospital. 

‘My responsibility is to manage the supply of essential medicines and to distribute medicines to the patients. Lockdown has made me even more sensitive, busy and responsible. Before the lockdown, 500 to 600 patients used to come daily. Nowadays, only about 30 to 40 people come … Some patients come on foot, some by bicycles, some by motor bikes, some even come by reserving an ambulance …It has become very difficult for the poor. Thankfully, the hospital provides free services and medicines to the poor, the disabled, the handicapped, the leprosy patients and the affected people.’

We wish all wonderful caring staff at Lalgadh Hospital continued good health as they take care of themselves and their patients during this difficult time.

Nepal Ireland Society 18th Anniversary Conference

The Nepal Ireland Society 18th Anniversary Conference took place on Sunday 17th  May 2020 (online)

Chief guest H.E. Dr. Durgar Bahadur Subedi, Nepal’s Ambassador to the UK and Ireland, delivered the key note address.

Irish President Michael D Higgins with the Nepal Ambassador to UK & Ireland, Dr Durga Bahadur Subedi. Celebrate Nepal Irish friendship, August 2018. Photo credit: A. Irwin

Mike Winterburn, chair of the board of Directors of Nepal Leprosy Trust Ireland, addressed the conference. Excerpt below:

‘Nepal Leprosy Trust is a Nepali NGO and was established in the 1970s Continue reading “Nepal Ireland Society 18th Anniversary Conference”

Lalgadh Hospital – extra care during COVID-19

We wish to acknowledge our appreciation to the wonderful, caring, work being undertaken by ALL staff at Lalgadh Leprosy Hospital and Services Centre in Nepal during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Like many other countries, Nepal is in national lockdown (which will be reviewed on 12th May 2020). This is to restrict the spread of the COVID-19 virus. To date there have been 59 recorded COVID-19 cases nationally, no deaths have so far been recorded, however, testing has been very limited so actual numbers are unknown. About 10,000 people, contacts or possible cases, are in quarantine.

In this time of global pandemic Lalgadh hospital has provided an isolation ward and a quarantine ward for Covid-19 patients. Staff have been provided with training and personal protective equipment (PPE) as they care for patients during the pandemic.

Lalgadh hospital have severely cut back on normal hospital services. Outpatient numbers are approximately 600 patients daily, that is now reduced to about 40 – 50 patients, mostly leprosy, severely ill or emergency cases. All staff are working hard to continue to provide the normal service to leprosy patients whilst at the same time taking care of those who may have the virus and require isolation and monitoring. Everyone entering the hospital compound are tested for fever to ascertain if they have the virus.

Fever screening desk at Lalgadh Leprosy Hospital. Photo: Sanjib Shrestha © NLT 2020

In the meantime, inpatients services are fully operational with about 70 inpatients in the wards, mostly leprosy patients including several children. 

Staff are working flat-out on extra anti-COVID infection control measures: systematically cleaning, disinfecting and fumigating the entire hospital, installing extra liquid soap and hand sanitiser dispensers, running education classes for the patients on hand-washing, stocking up on disinfectant, and still trying to acquire more reliable stock of PPE.

Due to the length of the lockdown the local government has distributed some food locally, however there is cause for concern about hunger, particularly in poverty affected communities. We are actively seeking information on this issue and may need to send relief to the affected communities that we serve.

The Nepalese people are a brave, resilient and caring people and continue to fight against all the odds. Please pray for the staff’s continued protection, safety and good health.

If you are interested in hearing more about our work or in sending a donation please contact Vera at: info@nlt.ie

Christmas Wishes 2019

We wish to take this opportunity to thank all our wonderful supporters and friends who assisted us throughout the year. We are hugely grateful. On behalf of all our colleagues in Nepal we thank you!

Our winter newsletter is available here if you wish to catch up on our successes of 2019.

Christmas Wishes 2019 © NLT Ireland

Welcome to the prosthetics ward of Lalgadh Leprosy Hospital

Welcome to the prosthetics ward of Lalgadh Leprosy Hospital and Services Centre!

Leprosy does not cause limb loss directly, but due to a lack of sensation in the hands and feet, a leprosy affected person is at much greater risk of injury. Burns, cuts and ulcers may go unnoticed, which can lead to infection and permanent damage. Here at Lalgadh, patients can get prosthetics free of charge. #WelcometoLalgadh

Prosthetics ward, Lalgadh Hospital

Prosthetics ward at Lalgadh Leprosy Hospital.   Above photos: R. Thomas  © NLT Ireland 2019.

Celebrations in Sunderbasti

The village of Sunderbasti now has a large water storage tank. Before this August, villagers piped water from four kilometres away, but the pipes leaked leading to contamination, especially during the monsoon. With safe water now in every villagers home, NLT is celebrating with Sunderbasti.

Sunderbasti water store tank, September 2019. Photo & video credit, R. Thomas ©  NLT Ireland 2019

Dhamaura village, year 2 of Village Alive Programme

Dhamaura village is finishing its second year of the Village Alive Programme.

Dhamaura Village meeting, September 2019

The government has agreed to build 53 ‘pukka’ (good quality cement and brick) houses with stoves fitted with pipes to remove damaging fumes. This is the result of the villagers’ growing confidence; empowered by the Village Alive Programme, they have lobbied government to improve their living conditions.

Mhendra, Dhamaura Village

One such villager is Mhendra Majhi. Two years ago Mhendra lacked the confidence even to speak in front of people because of the stigma surrounding his leprosy. Now, with the encouragement of the Village Alive project workers, he acts as the leader of a self-help group in the village and runs a thriving business rearing goats and selling their milk!

Mhendra, leader of the Self Help Group in Dhamaura. Above photos: R. Thomas © NLT Ireland, 2019.                                                                                        

Irish field trip to Lalgadh – Day 3 in Manara

Irish field trip September 2019  to Lalgadh and its surrounding villages – Day 3 Manara.
The new community hall in Manara due to the Village Alive Programme is a sight to behold!

New community hall in Manara, thanks to the community and the Village Alive Programme.

The local government has already promised to come to the hall three times a month for immunisations, general health check -ups and maternal and child health visits.

Above photos:  R. Thomas ©  NLT Ireland 2019

Hari Choudury has run the Manara Self Help Group for seven years with great enthusiasm despite facing the effects of leprosy. For this reason he was chosen to be the coordinator of the Village Alive Programme in Manara. With great results already from the first year of the programme we can’t wait to see what lies ahead for Hari and his community!
The Village Alive Programme is a three programme and is part funded by Irish Aid with matched donor funding.