A first step in Nepal, a giant step towards the future

“You have to say no to good to achieve the best”

It was Saturday October 14th that I first set foot on Asian ground. I arrived together with Dr. Frank Poen, who is also a member of the Advisory Committee in Kathmandu in order to participate in workshops for the creation of a specialised children’s hospital in Nepal. Other members of the Committee, Liesbeth Nagelkerke and Kaat Burbidge had already arrived and we were to be joined by Wilma de Groot from the Dutch company AMPC. My visit started with a touristic visit to the Buddist temple Swayambhunath and continued with a lovely Nepalese dinner at Ageno Restaurant, hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Deepak Raj Sapkota.

On Sunday we were scheduled to visit several hospitals in Kathmandu. Under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Sudha Basnet we visited the following hospitals::
·         Kanti Children’s Hospital
·         Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital
·         International Friendship Children’s Hospital

Our visits provided us with a clear overview of the organisation of hospital care in Nepal and the challenges and opportunities this implies for KIOCH. On Sunday afternoon, we had our first opportunity to discuss this with a group of doctors from several hospitals, some of which we had visited during the day. It was heart rendering to experience the doctors’ commitment while exploring the choices KIOCH will need to make. When meeting Prof. Dr. Bhagawan Koirala and the rest of the Board of Founding Directors during dinner on Sunday evening, each of them confirmed the importance of establishing KIOCH and the need for a specialised children’s hospital.

Monday and Tuesday were spent with professor Koirala, professor Sudha Basnet, the board and our advisory committee in workshops. It is clear that the board, as well as the private and public sector in Nepal embrace this initiative and wish to commit funds to support it.  In order to secure these funds and the support, it is imperative for KIOCH to determine its goals for the different phases it envisions.

The choices needed to determine the goals, were central in the discussions. We cannot do everything, but our goal is to provide the highest quality care and to reach as many children as possible. However, we should keep track of realistic possibilities. The common goal of helping the children of Nepal remained an inspiring element during these days. Our motto became:

‘You have to say no to good to achieve the best’

On Tuesday we were able to round off the workshops with an overview with of the goals we wish to reach with KIOCH, how to reach these goals and which steps need to be taken to get there. Wilma de Groot from AMPC helped us reach this point by showing us the process we need to follow and the implications of choices to our the actual design.

After an evaluation on Wednesday morning, we flew back to Holland. We gained a valuable experience and are convinced that something great is about to happen with KIOCH. Compared to Holland, health care in Nepal is far behind. For KIOCH we see great opportunities as we can create a new hospital unhindered by existing structures, able to prevent pitfalls and really being able to focus on health care of the future. Kathmandu will become the place where future care become reality. A first step in Nepal and a giant leap towards the future!

November 2017
Arco Schenkel