International Nepal Fellowship has been working in Mid-West Nepal since 1952 with disease control and treatment of tuberculosis and leprosy; leprosy services extend into Far West Nepal. It ran its own TB and leprosy clinics and supervised other clinics at government health posts. In 2005 INF handed over support for TB and leprosy field work to government agencies but will continue to second staff to provide essential training.

In addition it provides:

  • community health and development programmes with marginalised communities;
  • medical camps in remote areas;
  • hospital and rehabilitation services for people with disabilities;
  • assistance for other organisations working for people with disabilities;
  • HIV / AIDS education, testing, counselling and care;
  • help for displaced people and internal refugees created by the 10 year guerrilla war.
Ghorahi Footwear Clinic
Ghorahi Footwear Clinic

Green Pastures hospital in Pokhara was opened in 1957 as a leprosy hospital. It has now broadened its scope, helping people with all kinds of disability, and has been renamed the Green Pastures Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre. It now provides in- and out-patient leprosy services, reconstructive surgery, nursing care, laboratory services, counselling and health education, in- and out-patient rehabilitation including orthopaedic appliances, physiotherapy and occupation therapy. It provides beds for patients with leprosy and other disabilities, many of whom are too poor to afford treatment.

With early diagnosis and treatment, leprosy can be cured but damage to sensory nerves causes loss of sensation so that injuries are not felt; small blisters develop into chronic deep ulcers which eat into the bone causing deformity and disability. INF started a footwear and appliance department in Surkhet which provides leprosy sufferers with a variety of footwear, as well as appliances for those who have had amputations. Simple and inexpensive items are specially made rubber flip flops, special insoles for canvas bootees, moulded shoes and various orthoses. By becoming more mobile, lepers can play a more useful part in society, increase their own self-respect and reduce the discrimination caused by disability. The Surkhet clinic treats about 12,000 patients each year; there are 44 beds, a small laboratory and physiotherapy unit as well as the footwear department.

Recently there has been a major administrative overhaul of INF projects in West Nepal. The aim is to provide medical centres in each area to cover a range of services, rather than the previous specialist centres. The region has been severely affected by the Maoist insurgency but there has been little disruption to the services provided. One result has been an influx of refugees from the villages into the towns: the refugees are living in squalor and the town medical facilities are over-stretched.

One such medical centre is the INF ‘combined’ clinic in Jumla, home of Everest Marathon champion, Hari Roka. This is an area where there has been considerable violence and many internal refugees have crowded into the town and who are now helped by the Jumla Poor Fund.

In the first few weeks after the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal INF was able to provide emergency relief to over 3000 households (about 18,000 people) in districts like Gorkha (the epicentre of the April quake).  Low cost or free treatment was provided at the Green Pastures Hospital in Pokhara.

The Everest Marathon Fund has made donations to various projects:

1997: Motorbike (able to navigate good trails) to reduce travelling time for INF staff to 168 monthly TB and leprosy clinics.

1998; £3,500 was sent to buy multi cellular rubber to make special footwear. A further donation of £2,500 was spent on a special room at the Ghorahi clinic for the shoemaker and his clients.

1999: Rubber, leather and shoemaking tools for the new footwear centre in Surkhet, 3 colorimeters for doing essential blood tests for TB and leprosy, £1,500 for a new accounting software package, £800 for a video and TV for staff training and almost £2,000 towards leprosy rehabilitation work.

2001: A second motorbike and money for the Jumla clinic for a paced walkway and five solar cookers to provide inpatient meals and boiled drinking water: a real benefit in an area which suffers from deforestation

2002: Autoclave steriliser, an oxygen concentrator to assist TB patients with severe breathing difficulties, and a computer printer for maintaining patient records at Surkhet.

2003: Physiotherapy equipment for Jumla and a donation to the Jumla Poor Fund.

2004: Green Pastures Buy-a-Bed scheme: two and a half beds for one year!

2005: Green Pastures: one bed for two years.

2005: Jumla Poor Fund: Many patients require surgery and/or rehabilitation which is not available in this remote area. This money will be used to cover the cost of transport to specialist centres, such as the TB clinic in Banke, the leprosy centre in Surkhet, or Green Pastures Hospital in Pokhara.

2007: Surkhet Clinic for rehabilitation, self-care and footwear department.

2009: A further donation to the Surkhet Clinic leprosy centre.

2011: £4,000 was spent on the General Rehabilitation Unit in Surkhet, a 6-bed in-patient unit which provides physiotherapy and occupational therapy for disabled people and also helps with home adaptations.  £5,000 was used for the Baglung HIV/AIDS programme which provides testing, treat,emt, counselling and education activities.

2013: £5,000 was provided to Green Pastures Rehabilitation Centre in Pokhara.

2018: £4,000 will assist sustainable practices in agro-production and collective marketing in drought affected food insecure communities in Bajura, Western Nepal