My plane landed in Kathmandu this morning – my first day back in the country after a stint too long away (as a resident physician in the USA now, finding time away from work can be challenging). Coincidentally, today is also the 3rd anniversary of Nyaya’s collaboration with the Nepali Ministry of Health, overseeing Bayalpata Hospital.
On April 20th, 2009, I was sitting in the Sanfe Bagar Medical Center with Nyaya’s first lab technician, Santosh Shrestha, when we heard the news – our team in Kathmandu had signed a 5-year contract with the Minisitry of Health and Population to renovate and open the non-functioning Bayalpata Hospital (BH). Our team was excited – there was an energy in the clinic that day that rejuvenated our clinical staff as they saw the final patients of the day. And there was also a great anticipation of what would come next, after all, we were a very young organization – we had only opened our first health center one year earlier, and now we were going to open a hospital. Exciting, greatly needed in the region, and an enormous challenge.
The government’s contract gave us 2 months to open the hospital (or theoretically they would not provide the promised funding), and we made it; barely. On June 21st, 2009, Bayalpata Hospital formally re-opened and began seeing patients. Today, three years on, BH sees over 35,000 patients each year. We’ve written elsewhere on this blog of the tremendous work and dedication that have gone into building our programs at BH and in surrounding communities. Next week, with some very important guests (keep an eye on the blog for more news), we will celebrate this anniversary in good Achhami style. As I look forward to more time in Achham with Nyaya’s team at BH, perhaps more than the successes of the road thus far, the challenges remaining ahead are ever-present. We’ll write more on the blog in the coming weeks about some of these challenges as we have ongoing discussions and upcoming meetings about our next big steps.
For today, in a tribute to 3 years, and a commitment to many more ahead, I leave you with a slideshow of some of the not frequently seen photos of the beginnings of BH. Happy Anniversary, and thank you to everyone for the incredible support that has brought BH to where it is today:
Ryan Schwarz, MD, MBA, is on the Board of Directors for Nyaya Health. He is currently a resident in the Harvard Brigham and Women’s/Children’s Hospital Medicine-Pediatrics Residency program.