IOM Nepal Earthquake Response: Health

Resulting from the earthquakes, collapsing buildings and landslides killed at least 8,500 people and injured over 22,300; additionally more than 400 health facilities were destroyed and over 700 partially damaged, but still inaccessible for the population.

Congested hospitals meant that many who required urgent and life-saving treatment could not be assisted. Triage of patients was urgently needed and in the chaotic post-earthquake situation, there was a risk that patients would not be discharged safely or followed up.

Long after acute needs were met, IOM continued to provide patient transport to ensure follow-up and rehabilitation care was provided, the latter being a key element to prevent life-long disability for the injured. During the first nine months of the earthquake response, IOM medical escort team assisted over 500 patients with discharge, referral to local health facilities, or safe return into the community.

In close cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Population and the District Health Officer, IOM established, and currently operates, the 40-beds Injury Rehabilitation Unit (IRU) in Chautara district of Sindhupalchowk, which provides step down care including intensive physiotherapy, nursing care, psychosocial support and safe shelter for patients with earthquake-related injuries and disabilities. Unique in its kind in Nepal, IOM has been working together with WHO and Injury and Rehabilitation Sub-Cluster members to establish the IRU as a ‘demonstration site’ for step down care at the district level.

In temporary settlement sites, IOM medical team jointly with the camp management continues to assist the most vulnerable including pregnant women, and people living with disabilities or chronic illnesses, to access health services and psychosocial support.

Many of those affected by the earthquakes experienced psychological distress. IOM’s multi-disciplinary psychosocial teams provided direct assistance on a regular basis to 14 temporary settlement sites hosting 17,550 IDPs in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Kavrepalanchowk, Rasuwa and Nuwakot. IOM also provided training to 200 volunteers and camp managers on Mental Health and Psychosocial Considerations in Camp Management and Service Provision and Self-Care.

IOM continues to support the National Tuberculosis Program to restore the respective services in affected districts including tracing of patients whose treatment was disrupted because of the earthquakes. Approximately 5,000 at risk individuals residing in temporary sites were screened for Tuberculosis and follow up services were provided. To support community mobilization, IOM conducted trainings and orientations on Tuberculosis to 168 female community health volunteers and local health workers to raise awareness and promote testing among those at risk.


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