In March and April of 2017, Nooria Iqbal, a medical student at the University of Nottingham, and two friends visited Nepal for their medical elective. Nooria tells her story below:
We were based at Kanti Children’s Hospital in Kathmandu, and during our stay there we were able to rotate through various specialties following teams on PICU and NICU (paediatric and neonatal intensive care units), burns wards, oncology and general medical wards. We saw a combination of conditions, some of which we had never seen in the UK such as TB and thalassaemia. However, what was most striking about the hospital was the ethic held there. Although the initial visit was a shock, seeing the state of some poorer families not being able to afford treatments, and the work done with fewer resources, as we got the know Kanti, we witnessed more cases where staff were willing to go to make sure their patients got the treatment they needed.
What we saw in the hospital rang true throughout Nepal. I found it to be a deeply spiritual country, one that was distinguished by a simple compassion on the backdrop of stunning natural beauty. In our free time, we were able to take short treks to Poon Hill during which we met wonderful and encouraging locals, experienced the calm of Pokhara, and were able to stay in Yangrima boarding school at the foothills of the Helambu mountain range. This last experience was indeed a gift, seeing the life and work of the school, and what such hard work has achieved there.
Nepal was an amazing experience, and one from which I have been lucky enough to learn a great deal. I would love to keep a connection with this country and go back to visit when I can.