First dental camp in Okhaldhunga
First dental camp in Okhaldhunga
It took over five hours to reach Khijiphalate for a dental and medical camp in Okhaldhunga District – the first dental camp ever held there in the remote rural municipality of Khijidemba. Most patients were people with disabilities and their family members, who we know through the Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) project, and we also helped some to be assessed for disability cards. It was held in December around the International Day of Persons with Disabilities and was combined with celebrations and awareness-raising.
We asked Dr Roshan Kharel (a dentist who is also the new Hospital Director for Okhaldhunga Community Hospital – OCH) and Dr John Padgett, Medical Co-ordinator to share their experiences:
1. What sort of conditions did people present with? What were some interesting cases you saw?
Dr Roshan, dental â€“ We saw 98 dental patients. Many of them had pain, some gum diseases, and others wanted cavities to be filled. We did not fill cavities due to the challenge of sterilisation in that setting, but we performed over 120 dental extractions!
Dr John, medical –
  • In the medical clinic, we saw 17 patients on the first afternoon, and 22 the next day. Most of them had longstanding problems that they wanted to get another opinion about. Several of them were there to be assessed for a disability card (the Government of Nepal has four levels of disability for which they issue a disability card). Once registered people can access money (for the first two groups) as well as various government services to assist them in managing their disability.
  • I was able to suggest that two or three children come to OCH to be reviewed by our paediatrician.
  • Also, for some who had orthopaedic problems (eg. burn contractures, mal-union of fractures) I suggested referral to our new orthopaedic surgeon. In fact, at least one of them turned up at OCH within a couple of days of the camp.
2. How long ago was the last such camp in that area (if ever)?
It was the first visit by a dentist to that place. For medical we’re not certain but it has been several years since a camp there, if ever.
3. How much would it cost / how long would it take for people to travel from there to the nearest services?
The nearest place for dental treatment is OCH. Travel to the hospital costs at least Rs 3,000 (USD 23) return from Khijiphalate and takes about four to five hours one way in a dry season.
4. Any outcomes/learning/ plans for the future following this camp?
Dr Roshan – As a dentist, I have realised that many families are not aware of the importance of brushing their teeth with fluoridated toothpaste. Thus, my next project is to train OCH CBR staff, schoolteachers, and parents about oral hygiene.
Dr John –
  • I was able to inform the CBR staff that we now have a paediatrician, orthopaedic surgeon and general surgeon working at OCH, and people could come for review. This would save them a trip into Kathmandu.
  • The road from OCH to Khijiphalate is awful – sometimes not more than a wide walking track. It takes five hours to travel and is somewhat dangerous in parts. I have a new appreciation for our CBR staff who are working in such difficult terrain in Khijidemba Rural Municipality!
  • In future, I would recommend that one of our Nepali doctors go on such a camp. They would be able to work much faster and get through the patients more efficiently. Two of our doctors have done disability assessment camps in Molung Rural Municipality in the last year.

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