binita-and-kalika-at-nursing-collegeapsara-2We are delighted to announce that we have completed the selection process for our first DFN nursing scholarships, and welcome Kalika Thakuri, Apsara Jirel, and Binita Rai to the DFN team. They commence a 3-year degree in Kathmandu, and will work in a remote area for a minimum of 2 years in return for their funding. We wish them all well, and look forward to hearing their stories.

To implement our nursing scholarships, we have teamed up with PHASE WORLDWIDE, a charity similar to DFN working in Nepal to empower isolated communities through health, education and livelihood opportunities.  PHASE has a lot of experience educating nurses from rural backgrounds.  Dr Gerda Pohl, Trustee and Medical Coordinator PHASE Worldwide explains more about how our new nurses have been recruited:

“One of the difficulties of providing skilled health professionals in remote areas of Nepal is that people from these areas are underrepresented in the health workforce:

In general, rural schools have a lower quality of teaching, and it’s harder for young people to pass entrance exams when they have graduated from a rural school, but also most people living in the rural parts of Nepal just do not have the resources to send their children to study in cities, as they would have to bear the full cost of living. 

On the other hand, young professionals who have grown up and studied in Nepal’s cities don’t often have the mental and physical resilience required to stay in remote rural areas long term. – These villages can be incredibly isolated and daily life requires a lot of effort.

For this reason, it makes a lot of sense to sponsor young people from rural areas to study medicine or nursing. 

PHASE ANMs are almost all from very remote areas originally, and go through a competitive selection process in order to be recruited. They work in very isolated communities and deliver an invaluable service there, where people would often not even have access to very basic health care. PHASE ANMS take great pride in the service they deliver and the difference they make. They treat all types of health problems, from accidents to chronic diseases, and they promote preventive services and education people about common health problems and their treatment and prevention. 

All of them have shown a commitment to working in rural areas, and all of them could contribute significantly to the health service in these rural areas. Because they have had the experience of how hard life is in their working communities and how basic health care can make a huge difference to people’s lives, they are most likely to continue working in such areas.

Kalika has worked in Bajura, which in a recent statistic was the district with the lowest Human Development Index in Nepal with hardly any road access and unreliable air connections; Binita worked in Melchham (Humla district), a mountain community 3 days walk from the nearest road or air access, and Apsara worked in Sridibas and Keraunja, both very remote communities of Gorkha district, 2-3 days walk from the nearest road.

They were selected for the scholarship through a competitive process, which took into account their length of service in PHASE, performance, family background and commitment to working in rural areas after their nursing course.”

Lalit with our nursesIn February 2017, Dr Lalit meets up with our three students.  He is keen to make sure they feel welcome in the Doctors for Nepal family.