Posted by Shefali Oza
While Bayalpata Hospital services started on June 21st, today was the official opening ceremony for the hospital. Over 300 people assembled on the front lawn, including the Chief District Officer of Achham and other local, district, and regional-level officials. The ceremony was organized by Bayalpata’s previous hospital management board, which included local community members who had lobbied for this abandoned government hospital to be opened.
Bayalpata Hospital, built over 20 years ago, was originally intended to be a district level hospital. However, for political reasons, the district headquarters was moved to Mangalsen (a town several hours away). When the local communities protested the decision to never open Bayalpata hospital, 4 men where shot and killed while others were injured and arrested. A number of moving speeches at the opening ceremony were given by people who had been intimately involved with this painful history.
Other speakers focused on the future direction of Bayalpata Hospital under Nyaya Health’s management. There was great enthusiasm that people in Achham would finally have a well-equipped and fully staffed health facility. Several speeches focused on the overwhelming need to address the growing HIV/AIDS crisis in Achham, which is the epicenter of Nepal’s epidemic. Our Medical Director, Dr. Jhapat Thapa, spoke about the services that would be offered at the hospital, including a full outpatient department, delivery ward, 24-hour emergency care, family planning services, pharmacy, and lab. He also spoke about the future expansion goals, which include a digital x-ray machine, an inpatient ward, and a surgical center.
The current of excitement during the opening ceremony seemed to be a result of reconciling the sad past of Bayalpata Hospital with the exciting prospect of having quality medical care for the first time in a district that desperately needs it.