Since the Wongchhu Sherpa Memorial Hospital opened in April, 2022, it has enhanced the ability of the people in the area to have healthier families. Anyone can walk up the hill to the hospital and receive excellent primary healthcare from a dedicated staff. Knowing that some patients are too old or sick to make the walk to the hospital has led to some unique outreach programs.
We are so honored to have Dr. Gyaltsen Gurung, the physician leading the hospital, here to tell us about two of the outreach programs he has initiated: a class on menstruation and a class on dental hygiene and hand washing. These topics are not covered in the general education at the local schools. Giving young girls the tools and knowledge to understand what is happening with their bodies is paramount to changing the way menstruation is approached in Nepal. Boys are included in the lectures to help educate everyone. Dental hygiene is more important than ever, too, with the influx of sugar drinks that are now available locally.
Thank you to the whole staff at the hospital and Dr. Gurung. Jam Jam!! Click here for our story on the dental camp!
Teaching Children in Nepal About Menstruation, Dental Care and Hygiene
Menstruation is a physiological process, but in some remote areas of Nepal, it is a big problem due to the cultural traditions and way of life. There are some religious beliefs/myths /taboos that hinder the life of women during menstruation. In some parts of Nepal, during menstruation they are not allowed to go to the temple, kitchen or even to their houses, and not allowed to touch or even to look at their male family members.
And many of the women in remote areas practice unhygienic practice during their menstrual phase by using unhygienic clothes, hiding pain and hiding any abnormal bleeding. By addressing these problems, I, along with the Wongchhu hospital team, decided to teach the school girls and boys about the menstrual cycle and personal hygiene with the aim to remove the taboos and to develop safe, hygienic care during menstruation.
We presented our class on menstrual health at the Fananje Primary School, in Khamding. The teachers and students both appreciated our lesson as it was new to talk about menstruation more openly among themselves. We discussed the anatomy and process of the menstrual monthly cycle.
We also spoke about proper hygiene and personal care during a woman’s cycle. I think this will play an important role as these students will spread some awareness in their families. In this way, I think we can bring a good understanding of this natural process in the monthly cycle for a woman.
Personal hygiene, which includes hand washing and teeth brushing, play a vital role in students health. Studies show that around 75% of communicable diseases can be prevented by proper hand washing techniques. Cavities are one of the top issues among school students, so the Wongchhu Sherpa Memorial Hospital team decided to teach the students about proper hand washing techniques and proper brushing techniques following The World Health Organization (WHO) Guidelines. The students were shown basic anatomy slides and drawings and then, after a demonstration of tooth brushing and hand washing, were let on their way. They then demonstrated to the staff their newfound skills!
The materials dispensed to the students were provided by LAPHA Surgmed Pvt. ltd. and Dr. Gurung , and included a First Aid box for the school and personal hygiene kits (tooth brush, toothpaste and soap) for each student. (Here at Musa Masala, we thank everyone for your donations!)
We will be doing more community targeted programs in the near future. This program was given at the Wongchhu Sherpa Primary School in Chyangba.
Dr. Gyaltsen Gurung