Plympton Rotary Club helped fund a tele-counselling service to provide emotional and mental support to COVID-19 patients in Nepal.
A Nepali doctor, Aban Gautam, recently completed a Masters in Clinical Research at Plymouth University and approached the Rotary Club for help with urgent Covid-19 needs in Makwanpur District.
With funding from the club, Dr Gautam inaugurated the service in order to support COVID-19 patients and give factual advice about the virus.
Plympton has a long history of supporting projects in Nepal. Most recently the club helped a school and village damaged by the 2015 earthquake in a remote part of the Gorkha district of Nepal.
It is wonderful that our Club had support and donations from over 50 people and several other Rotary Clubs”
The new service is based at the hospital Dr Gautam is having built: Siddhasthali Rural Community Hospital.
Plympton Rotary and Dr Gautam worked quickly as virus numbers rose steeply in Nepal, advertised for and appointed a young woman, Binika Shrestha, to be a counsellor – from 128 applicants. In the first six weeks she took 545 calls and now regularly contacts people referred to her by the medical centre.
Binika keeps in regular touch with Plympton Rotary. “Most of my callers are people who have not had a vaccine and have limited understanding of COVID-19. They are so relieved when they get in touch with me or when I phone them.”
Some callers have a family member hospitalized or have recently lost a family member to COVID-19 and they were often scared and heartbroken. Binika prioritizes them for follow-up calls and reassurance.
Plympton Rotary Club President Peter Reid served for many years as a volunteer in Nepal with VSO and understands the challenges and difficulties faced in remote parts of the country.
“We raised £5,000 very quickly. It is wonderful that our Club had support and donations from over 50 people and several other Rotary Clubs, and to know through Aban that our funds met people’s needs so quickly.”