[Press Release] Restoring Dignity to Disabled People in Post-Quake Nepal
03 June 2016
Nepal - The earthquake that rocked Nepal a year ago carried a high toll not just in human life and economic losses, but also in the large number of people – estimated to be in the thousands – left temporarily or permanently disabled through crush or other injuries.
The partial or complete destruction of over 1,000 healthcare facilities was another blow to those with pre-existing conditions, as well as those injured or disabled in the series of quakes.
In response, IOM, supported by AmeriCares, Australian Aid and the Nepal Physiotherapy Association has produced a pioneering series of Public Service Announcements (PSAs) on injury rehabilitation and accessibility, targeting earthquake survivors.
These PSAs aim to generate public awareness, particularly among earthquake survivors with disabilities and their families, on how they can resume their daily lives after such traumatic events.
They include a step-by-step guide on how to make easy-to-build modifications to create accessible homes and infrastructure, how to adapt their daily living activities, key hygiene messages and the importance of exercise in rehabilitation.
“Everyone can contribute to improve the quality of life of those are injured in the earthquake. The simplest things that we can do are modifying our houses to make them more accessible by building ramps, lowering the door handles and creating enough open space for wheelchairs to move around,” said IOM Nepal Chief of Mission Maurizio Busatti.
As part of its earthquake response activities, IOM assisted with patient discharge and referrals in order to facilitate essential care. Long after acute needs were met, it continued to provide patient transport to ensure access to follow-up and rehabilitation care: a key element to prevent life-long disability for the injured.
During the first 12 months after the quake, IOM medical escort teams assisted over 1,800 patients with their discharge from hospitals, referral to local health facilities or safe return to their communities.
In close cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Population and the District Health Office, IOM also established and currently operates a 40-bed Injury Rehabilitation Unit (IRU) in Chautara, Sindhupalchowk district.
This facility provides “step down” or transitionary care, including intensive physiotherapy, nursing care, psychosocial support and safe shelter for patients with earthquake-related injuries and disabilities.