On November 18, 2015, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) with financial support of Americares officially launched a 20-bed step down care facility providing functional restoration and rehabilitation services to patients with sustained earthquake-related injuries and disabilities in Sindhupalchowk district, Nepal.

The facility will respond to the post disaster plan developed by the Government of Nepal as well as provide support to the District Health Office while it plans for the rehabilitation of the district hospital. Patients admitted to the facility will receive intensive rehabilitative care, including physiotherapy and nursing care, as well as psychosocial support and assistance to transition back into the community.

Photo 1 (Upper left): Group Photo in front of the facility in Sindhupalchowk/ ©IOM
Photo 2 (Bottom left): Dr. Sagar Kumar Rajbhandari from the District Health Office cuts the ribbon to officially open the facility in Sindhupalchowk/ ©IOM
Photo 3 (Right): IOM Chief of Mission, Mr. Maurizio Busatti delivers an opening remark at the inauguration ceremony of the facility in Sindhupalchowk/ ©IOM

“As one of the worst hit districts, Sindhulpalchowk saw one of the highest numbers of earthquake-related injuries while at the same time over 80 health facilities were damaged or destroyed. There is a need to work closely with the health authorities in the district to ensure that injured patients receive the care that they need, as close to their home as possible. Injury should not be a reason to miss out reconstruction and recovery opportunities. Until now rehabilitation services have been largely restricted to the Kathmandu Valley, putting a lot of strain on caregivers and delaying return for some.” stated Maurizio Busatti, Chief of Mission IOM Nepal.

Sindhulpalchowk accounted for over 2,100 earthquake related injuries (Government of Nepal, 2015). It is unknown how many of these require long term care and or rehabilitation due to limited tracking of injured patients since the earthquake. IOM in the operation of this facility will work closely with the District Hospital and long-term rehabilitation partners.

Dr. Mike Landry, head of the physical therapy program at Duke University (USA) and injury policy advisor to the World Health Organization, said, “The Chautara step-down facility will have a great impact on the lives of those who were injured from the earthquake, and who are now struggling to return to their lives and livelihoods. The facility will encourage patients, many of whom have complex life-long injuries, to take an active role in the rehabilitation process by allowing them to define and achieve their own goals before being discharged in line with clear outcome-based protocols.”  Landry also says, “The centre will not only have a significant impact here in Nepal, but could also act as a model in other post-disaster contexts due to its innovative design.”

At the launching, Dr. Sagar Kumar Rajbhandari from the District Health Office, said “The District Health Office (DHO) and District Hospital, Sindhupalchowk, Chautara is pleased to coordinate and supervise the services provided in the Injury Rehabilitation Unit (IRU). As Sindhupalchowk District had the most number of injured people after the devastating earthquake in April this year, an IRU for the people of this district is much needed.”