Nepal earthquake: Vital support for the emergency rehabilitation sector
According to the World Health Organisation , Nepal is likely to experience a shortfall of staff trained to provide post-trauma care to people with injuries. Handicap International has been working in the country for fifteen years, where its field programme team has been providing support to five rehabilitation centres and forms part of Nepal’s rehabilitation network. However, following the earthquake, there has been an increase in the number of people with injuries, and the organisation has had to deploy additional staff to oversee professionals already working in the field in order to ensure they provide adequate emergency rehabilitation care.
Handicap International has provided rehabilitation care and crutches to Ramita. | © B. Blondel / Handicap International
Following earthquakes like the one in Nepal, people who suffer from traumas such as crushing, fractures and spinal injuries caused by collapsing buildings need specific care. Handicap International’s physiotherapists and occupational therapists aim to provide post-operative care and take over where surgeons leave off in hospitals by providing the injured with follow-up care to limit the development of disabling disabilities.
People case-managed by Handicap International : fractures, spinal chord and head injuries in the majority of cases
Handicap International is attending injured people in Baktapur, Bir, Patan and Tuth hospitals in Kathmandu. In the first week of intervention, more than 65% of the persons requiring our assistance had suffered fractures and some 12% spinal injuries.
The association has also noted an increase in the number of amputations after the first few days but so far this proportion remains in line with other similar disasters.
“We’re particularly keen to ensure that spinal injuries should not be neglected,” explains Sarah Blin, Director of Handicap International’s operations in Nepal. “We’re working in four large hospitals in Kathmandu Valley, and make sure that people leaving these hospitals get the care and equipment they need.”
Handicap International has also begun to scale-up the case-management of injured people in areas close to the earthquake’s epicentre, particularly in the district of Nuwakot.