In loving memory of Carna Elfgaard
In loving memory of Carna Elfgaard

We give thanks for the life and service of Carna Elfgaard from Sweden, who served with her husband Ragnar in the very early days of United Mission Hospital Tansen (UMHT). She passed away on 19 January at the age of 98. After serving in India she took the opportunity, with her husband and small daughter, to pioneer work in Nepal just two years after it had opened to the outside world. They were the second expat family to serve in Tansen.

In February 1955, Carna began, with very simple means, to furnish a hospital in the town of Tansen, the beginnings of UMHT. With great ingenuity and small means, she succeeded in creating a suitable hospital environment with consultation rooms and hospital rooms, in parallel with visiting villages on horseback in the mountainous and roadless terrain in order to deliver babies. During these years, Carna worked as a midwife, nurse, hospital manager and trainer of medical staff.

They returned to Sweden for a while to raise funds for the new hospital, travelling throughout the country to talk about their work. Back in Nepal, in addition to pioneering a maternity and child health centre, Carna also ran children’s, youth and women’s activities. Carna and Ragnar’s son and younger daughter were born in Nepal. They were later sent out of the country because Ragnar wrote to the king on behalf of the early Christians who were sent to prison in Tansen.

In Sweden Carna then worked in elementary schools and later set up and ran the nursing school in Skara. She and Ragnar also returned to South Asia for a few years where she started adult schools in Pakistan among people living in poverty. In her free time, she ran Scout activities for many years and enjoyed playing tennis until she was 75 years old. Nepal, all Nepali friends and the mission hospital in Tansen had a big room in her heart throughout the years and she continued to send woollen goods to the hospital.

Her children (thanks to whom we are sharing this obituary) share: “Carna was passionate about making life better for children and adults. Her inventiveness, positive manner, professionalism and pedagogical ability were qualities that we have always admired and now proudly carry with us in our memory.” At UMN we give thanks for Carna’s pioneering service in the early years of UMHT.

Carna ran the first Maternal and Child Health clinic in Tansen

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