20 Oct Video: award winners in profile
EKFS produced a video about the international health award won by INF Nepal and read more about award-winners Dorothy and Tham Bahadur.
Dorothy Das is an Occupational Therapist at Nepal’s only all-embracing leprosy rehabilitation centre, the Green Pastures Hospital (GPH). Leprosy has had a formative influence on Dorothy since childhood, though she never caught the disease. Raised by her grandparents, who lived at an INF settlement for the leprosy-afflicted in the Bardiya district, she became familiar with the disease and its consequences early on.
She is in charge of examining afflicted patients regarding their abilities and disabilities. This forms the basis for the treatment plan and deciding whether an operation would be an option. “If we diagnose the disease early, we can prevent deformities and skin sores,” Dorothy emphasises.
“These days, there is so much we can do to help people who suffer from the disease or subsequent damage caused by it. In addition to operations and rehabilitation, this includes preliminary and aftercare treatments, which are part of my work as an Occupational Therapist,” explains Dorothy.
Tham Bahadur Gurung
Tham Bahadur Gurung is a Patient Advocate and Counsellor at the Green Pastures Hospital. He was 22 years old when he was infected with leprosy. Years later, Tham first learned about the free leprosy treatments at GPH, where his diagnosis and treatment ultimately took place when he was 30. He was able to complete his training to become a counsellor later. Many people react to the leprosy diagnosis with fear or denial, so they are promptly referred to the patient advocate and peer counsellor in one Tham Bahadur Gurung.
“When I got diagnosed with the disease I had fears about two things: one was fear about the disease itself, the other was will I ever be able to find a girl because of the deformities in my hands.” That’s why the first thing Gurung asks patients about is their feelings. Then he helps with forms for health insurance and welfare support, tells about possibilities for therapy, and gives support in talks with relatives. “I love all the patients with all my heart because I was in a similar situation, and to help them now like I once received help brings me peace and joy,” says Tham Bahadur.
Top image: Dorothy Das and Tham Bahadur Gurung at Green Pastures Hospital (© EKFS/Simone Utler)