CASE STUDY: Ignorance and poverty induced disability
The uneven, irregular and difficult physical topography is a challenge to economic development of Nepal. Nepal still lacks basic facilities and services in terms of proper transportation, communication, health, education and technology. Besides these problems, which occurred due to the geographical challenge, various socio-cultural issues are also creating hindrances to country’s development. For instance; political instability, poverty, unemployment, ignorance, superstitions and ill traditions.
Nepal is a country with many villages where various social structures, belief system and inter-woven social phenomenon determine the way of living of people. The most influenced sector so far is health. The health of people is largely determined by socio-cultural aspect of our country. Most importantly, the traditional system of health care is dominant over modern sophisticated health care in remote areas of Nepal. Though in some places, health system has been established to provide health services, people there are not getting adequate access to it. One of the possible reason for inaccessibility is their own unwillingness to take the services because of their ignorance and superstitious belief system. Preventive, promotive, curative, and rehabilitative health care services depend not only in availability & accessibility of it but also on awareness and attitude of the people and various inter-woven social structure that determines in making choice.
Here we present a case study of a person and his differently abled son:-
Nima Nurbu was born in remote village named Lamuche of Okhaldhunga district. He lives in a family of six, his son ( Lakpa Gelpu Sherpa), wife and his three daughters. He is earning his livelihood through agriculture as his traditional occupation. He also works as a porter occassionally. Having poor financial status, Nima Nurbu feels he is not able to provide his family all kind of facilities. Nima is uneducated and follows traditional belief system of his community.
Lakpa, his son is in 5th grade now. His right leg is impaired and he cannot walk, play or run like other children of his age. He has to walk a long distance from his home to school and the irregular landscape makes it more challenging for him. Nima is quite worried educating his son as his village lies in topographically unfavorable region and that he might not accomplish his degree.
Nima’s son, Lakpa who is 12 years now had faced a lot of physical pains from his 5th years of life. When he was five years of age, he had pain in his right knee. His family didn’t know the actual cause behind the pain in his leg. As he grew, his pain also got worse and it was more complicated by frequent falls and accident he had while playing outdoor. They didn’t know that the pain was due to some kind of infection in his knee bone. But the worst decision they made was to taking him to “DHAMI” ( traditional healer) instead of seeking for advanced health care. They had taken to nearest health post only after dhami couldn’t treat him but the health center in a village usually lacks all optimum equipment’s of diagnostic procedures, medicines and treatment. Thus, his conditions got even worse with recurrent infections and unbearable pain. The poor child in his very early age of playing, running, had to suffer this immense pain. He is not able to bend his right knee. Ultimately, because of improper and incomplete treatment along with ignorance and poverty of his family members, Lakpa impaired his right leg.
This was a story that evidenced how ignorance about health care leads to irreversible loss of quality life. In Nepal health seeking behavior of people is largely influenced by prevalent social norms and traditions in addition to the access and availability of health services. Thus, to enhance informed decision making in terms of choosing right options of health care, people in Nepal should be made aware along with the provision of complete access to all kind of health facilities.
Encounter with CDCA:
Nima also worked as a porter and during his last visit, he came in contact with Ang Gyelu Sherpa who was leading the expedition group of Jeff heading towards Mera Peak,Solukhumbu. There he got to share his story about his son. Subsequently, Ang Gyelu recommended him to visit CDCA.
CDCA is grateful towards Ang Gyelu who referred such a needy people in the right organization. By finding a sponsor to aid in Lakpa’s educational cost, CDCA purports to serve humanity and achieve its primary objective of assisting Children with disability in Nepal. CDCA would do its best from its side to help them. In addition, in upcoming days, the organization will also be playing important role in organizing awareness campaign to eliminate ignorance and enhance beneficial behavior change among the people of remote places living under poverty and ignorance.