On 10th April 2015, Dr Kiran Awasthi had enjoyed a recent birthday, and was wondering whether his work at the Health and Development Society of Nepal (HDSN) was more dentistry, public health or accounting. Just two weeks later, he knew the direction his life needed to take. The devastating earthquake inspired a call to action and he mobilized the 1995 alumni from St Xavier’s College in Kathmandu. Some were overseas and raised funds, while others worked on the ground to distribute sanitation equipment to hospitals and medical camps. They were committed to preventing further epidemics in this period of disaster.
On day 1, they provided medicinal supplies, water and disinfectants to two hospitals and handed over disinfectants and phenols to camps around Kathmandu to ensure that the toilet areas in temporary shelters would not cause health epidemics. They were also able to get medicine into the hands of doctors heading to Gorkha. On day 2, their supplies reached Bhaktapur hospital and settlements around the ring road, as well as supplying doctors heading to Dhading and Sindupalchowk.
Kiran’s collaboration with the Niti Foundation, and now #WeHelpNepal has allowed their reach to expand even further, to Sankhu, Kavrepalanchowk, Nuwakot, Khokana, Bungmati, Lele, Anandaban, Lubhoo, Siddhipur and Godavari. Their range of products now includes masks and gloves, sanitary napkins, soap and bleaching powder.
In 5 days, the distribution comprised:
Phenyl: 1700 liters
Bleaching Powder: 1850 kilos
Soap: 3500 bars
Masks: 21,000 pieces
Gloves: 18,000 pairs
Paracetamol: 5000 tablets
Ibubrufen: 4000 tablets
Metronidazole: 3000 tablets
Oral rehydrating solution: 1000 packets
Bandages: 30 packets
Povidone iodine 500ml bottles: 32 bottles
Gluteraldehyde: 4 jars
Savlon: 8 litres
Sanitary napkins: 3000 packets
Since the start of May, they have been collaborating with the district health offices (DHOs) in the hard hit areas and asking them to be the focal point and use the health workers and female health care volunteers to disperse the materials through various Village Development Committees. They have asked the DHOs to provide a distribution checklist to ensure that it reaches the population throughout the district.
The work of his organization continues at a rapid rate, with the financial support of #WeHelpNepal. We are committed to empowering community organizations, on-the-ground, so that necessary supplies make it, rapidly, to wherever they are needed. Given on-going funding, the HDSN are also committing to the second phase of development, where they aim to help in rebuilding and re-habitation of the displaced.
His work as a dentist may return in time. Right now, his experience with accounts and public health has meant that he can help the Nepali people move from disaster to sustainable development.
Follow his daily progress on www.facebook.com/kawasthi
Relief aid, while well intentioned, often ends up in the pockets of corrupt local bureaucrats and/or multinational contracts, with very little reaching the people that actually need it. Ensure that your contributions reach those in need.
Read #WeHelpNepal's funding criteria and mission.