In the days following the arrival to Kathmandu, Nepal, we broke into two groups: one group went school serving underprivileged children, while the other group went to Helping Hands Community Hospital in the heart of Kathmandu.
Helping Hands Community Hospital is organized to serve the poorest patients in Nepal. We met with its director, Dr. Gupta Bahadur Shrestha, to discuss how the hospital works and how it is able to maintain such low service fees. He explained that the doctors themselves often take a reduced payment in order to meet the needs of the patients. He explained that although the Nepalese government has worked hard to reduce the price of medical care, the measures still are not enough for many people, especially people from rural areas who make almost no income. Helping Hands Community Hospital has incorporated a cost structure that charges patients based on what they are able to pay. Despite this reduced income, Dr. Shrestha insisted that his hospital is able to maintain the same standards of care as the best private hospitals across Nepal.
Touring the hospital, itself a sprawling 5 building complex which houses a variety of centers and departments, left us with a deep impression of how well it’s run. Although the equipment was a bit old, and the walls could use a touch of new paint, everything was very clean and very orderly. The hospital was optimized to give top notch service at a low cost. For the remainder of that day and the next, we shadowed doctors at the hospital. We observed the ultrasound equipment being put to use on people with a wide variety of medical conditions. We also observed several patients being treated in the ICU, as well as a man with a stroke in the emergency room.
Overall, touring and shadowing doctors at the hospital was a very memorable and useful experience. - Wyndham