News @ JSI

Update on Relief Efforts in Nepal

June 25, 2015

More than 8,700 people have died, nearly 20,000 injured, and hundreds of thousands have lost their homes or suffered extensive property damage as a result of the series of major earthquakes that have struck Nepal in the last few weeks. The first major quake (7.8 magnitude) occurred on April 25th and there have since been 227 aftershocks recorded at magnitudes of 4.0 or greater, including a 7.3 magnitude quake on May 12th.

During the 17-day gap between the two major quakes, some people began to resume a semblance of normal life, at least in the Kathmandu valley. Families were starting to sleep and eat indoors and many shops and business had reopened. Since the second quake on May 12th, however, few shops or business have fully reopened as people are reluctant to work inside cracked and damaged buildings and fear the possibility of additional high-magnitude quakes. Rumors and unfounded predictions, as well as pre-monsoon storms, are making life worse, especially for the many who are living outdoors, afraid or unable to return home.

What JSI is doing to support recovery efforts and ensure that women are reached with emergency obstetric supplies and services:

JSI’s Chlorhexidine Navi Care (CNCP) program staff met several times in the days following the first earthquake and attended meetings to strategize how to help people in the hardest hit districts. JSI’s Kathmandu-based staff also helped the Ministry of Health coordinate deployment of medical supplies and teams.

JSI has provided chlorhexidine (CHX) for inclusion in emergency clean delivery kits for distribution to the 15 hardest-hit districts. JSI has deployed field staff from unaffected districts to districts where more help is needed. Kathmandu-based staff have also traveled to hard-hit districts to support on-the-ground program work.

Although CNCP is implemented in only five of the 15 most-affected districts, the project has provided materials and orientation to local health staff in non-program districts. Approved by the Ministry of Health, the clean delivery kits include CHX and misoprostol for use at health facilities and at the community level. Both drugs are essential in settings where even women who planned a facility birth now must deliver at home due to lack of a facility, transport, staff, and refrigeration (for oxytocin, a uterotonic used in cases of postpartum hemorrhage).

This video (in Nepali) was produced by CNCP to train health workers in hard-hit districts.

The existing program districts will continue to be supported and JSI/CNCP will follow-up on their CHX and misoprostol use and documentation. More CHX has been ordered from local pharmaceutical manufactureing partner, LOMUS. Fortunately, LOMUS’s factory was not damaged and is still manufacturing the product in required quantities.

With funds raised by more than 200 people's generous donations, the Nepal team has also been able to provide relief packets to more than 650 female community health volunteers, who are the backbone of Nepal's community health program.