Our regional director for Asia, Prof Ram K Shah has recently been appointed as vice chancellor for the Nepal Province 2 health sector. We asked him how this new role might help improve management and awareness of fracture care in the country, and more particularly in Province 2.
Province 2 counts six million inhabitants (23% of the total population of Nepal) but occupies only three percent of the total surface area of the country. It is one of the two poorest, most underprivileged of the seven provinces of Nepal. All provinces face the same challenges when it comes to trauma and orthopedic care: lack of equipment in public hospitals, insufficiently trained healthcare workers and poverty. Financially disadvantaged people are often neglected because of their inability to pay the ever-increasing cost of treatment.
Prof Shah is also the executive director of the Madhesh Institute of Health Sciences (MIHS), whose mission, like that of the AO Alliance, is to reduce suffering, disability, and poverty in Province 2, by enhancing specialized healthcare, research, and education.
Prof Shah plans to improve trauma and orthopedic care in the province, by establishing a trauma center for comprehensive care and rehabilitation of trauma patients, upgrading MIHS services to a 300-bed provincial hospital with multidisciplinary services for timely and appropriate trauma care. Specialized trauma and orthopedic training has already begun for junior doctors, nurses, and paramedics, with more in the pipeline. Prof Shah envisions the AO Alliance supporting his mission through fracture management courses, fellowships and resident training, and a partnership with the MIHS on training for paramedics, a fellowship program, and clinical research.
“There is huge gap between private and public sector healthcare systems. The private healthcare system attracts most of the qualified surgeons and paramedics, resulting in poor people being left at the mercy of insufficiently trained healthcare providers in government hospitals. The AO Alliance could work in partnership with the public healthcare system to improve fracture care to benefit many people in Nepal,” concludes Prof Shah.