November 11-22, 2015
This past November, under the umbrella of Arpan Global Charities CHOC and SJO doctors traveled to Nepal to exchange information and share their skills and time at the Kathmandu University Hospital in Dhulikhel, Nepal, an independent, non-profit teaching hospital. Opened in 1996, the hospital, besides health services, also provides medical, dental and nursing schools, in collaboration with Kathmandu University.
The devastation from the 7.8 earthquake that killed 9,000 people and destroyed the area’s infrastructure in April 2015 was quite visible. The current fuel crisis was also evident causing the hospital to cook meals for patients and staff outdoors with wood.
Before the trip, some of the Dhulikhel surgeons requested needed supplies. SJO Interim Chief Medical Officer and orthopedic surgeon Paul Beck, MD, who made the trip along with his wife, internist Huong Thi Duong, MD, cited arthroscopy shavers used to trim tissue in the knee as an example. “In the US we use these blades once but in Nepal they were reused and sterilized dozens of times and were quite dull.” He has contacted a supplier in the US who will be donating new blades, although after the trip.
SJO NICU Medical Director and the founder of Arpan Global Charities, Sudeep Kurkreja, MD, and his wife, Song Kukreja, helped organize and participated in the trip. This Mission Dhulikel , Nepal was the 18th volunteer medical mission organized by Arpan Global Charities and was tremendously successful. During this mission focus was more on teaching and education than service, although our team members examined and treated more than 300 patients and performed 65 surgical and dental procedures. Every single day each team members gave 2-3 didactic lectures to their respective counterparts from Nepal as well as hands on demonstration of latest surgical procedures and skills.
He continues, “There is great need for exchange of knowledge and skills between the physicians and surgeons from US and Nepal.” Dr. Ram Shrestha, the Vice Chancellor at Katmandu University Hospital in Dhulikhel, was very supportive of having an ongoing academic affiliation between Dhulikhel Hospital and SJH/CHOC. We discussed at great length about developing exchange program between Kathmandu University Hospital in Dhulikhel and SJH/CHOC especially in the area of neonatology and pediatric surgery. SJH President and CEO Steve Moreau, who was part of this mission with his wife Anne, will be working with CHOC to facilitate this exchange.
Also on the Nepal mission trip were anesthesiologist Jeffrey Sycamore, MD; dentist Vazrick Navasartian; pediatric infectious disease subspecialist Jasjit Singh, MD and her husband pediatric ENT Gurpreet Ahuja, MD; ophthalmologist David Yomtoob MD, and his wife Allison; pediatric nephrologist Dorit Ben-Ezer, MD and her daughter Maya; Hillary Nguyen, a SJO volunteer and Cal State Fullerton student; CHOC neonatal nurse Cindy Hecklau. All the volunteers paid for their own flight, meals, and accommodations at a lodge about a kilometer from the hospital.
This mission was not possible without contribution by each and every one of the volunteers and our host team members at the Kathmandu University Hospital, Dhulikhel.
Anyone interested in upcoming mission trips with Arpan Global Charities can contact Dr. Kukreja at ArpanGlobal@gmail.com.