Why is constructing a Community Health Unit (CHU) in Hulchuk Village of Gorkha district the need of the hour?
The sprawling Gurung communities in Hulchuk village of Keraunja VDC in Gorkha district are nothing short of amazing. One can walk through the trails with mules along with the local passers by while giving their pallets a chance to enjoy the taste of typical Nepali food at small hotels located on the way. Budhi Gandaki River, the lush green forests covering the hills, picturesque scenery, and timeworn foot trails leading to the distant village, combine to make the journey an overwhelming one.
Hulchuk Village is a remote settlement of the Gurung community, situated at a two day trek distance from Sotikhola, Gorkha. It is located at an altitude of approx. 1000 meters. Most people here depend upon agriculture and livestock for a living, and some families are even involved in the trekking industry. People here generally do not produce enough to feed their families all year around, and mostly depend on daily wages.
You will find that people here are usually preparing themselves for the monsoon; collecting firewood and food items required for the rainy season as the village is highly prone to landslides and floods. Hundreds of mules transport rice, sugar, salt, oil among other items up to the upper belt of Manaslu Himal and Tsum Valley.
Due to geographical inaccessibility, old people, pregnant women, children and the disabled of the community are forced to spend 5-6 hours to reach the nearest health center even for minor cuts and wounds. For years, people have been deprived of essential health services rendered by the Government of Nepal, as a result, there is less access to child immunization and vaccines in the region.
Also, due to lack of education and awareness among the majority, practices like polygamy, child marriage is prevalent and people do not no observe the birth spacing or control measures. In such a scenario, some people in the community who are educated and slightly more aware of the situation, tried to run a community health center in coordination with multiple government bodies like DDC, DHO, and VDC of Gorkha District. The health post is now rendering services to the locals from a rented house in Hulchuk.
However, Tharpati Ghale, 80 of Hulchuk Village says, "The rented room has been damaged by the earthquake and has been rendered unsafe to deliver health services and we need proper infrastructure to give out health facilities to people who can access quality health care services."
To conclude, the difficult geographical location and topography of the region as well as the level of education and lack of awareness among the community members has been coming in the way of people getting an access to basic health care services.
And even the government of Nepal and other non-profit organizations have overlooked the grave need of this place due to its inaccessibility.
In my view, if SWAN can construct a community health unit in this place, it would be a boon to the needy people living in the rural, mountainous part of northern Gorkha; one of the most scenic places in the country, most people are unaware of.
By Madan Poudeyal, Program Associate, Social Welfare Association of Nepal (SWAN)
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