Helicopter rescue programme saves lives of rural womenA total of 82 pregnant women and postpartum mothers from Sudurpaschim Province have been rescued under the President Women Upliftment Programme in the last three years.
It was 11pm on July 1 when Manisha Bhandari of Budhinanda Municipality-6 in Bajura complained of labour pain. As it was late at night, her family could not immediately take her to the nearest health centre in Kolti.
She was taken to the health centre the next morning. By the time she was admitted at the health centre, her situation was so critical that she had to be referred to a well-facilitated hospital in Martadi of Bajura district. But there was one problem: the road from Kolti to Martadi was blocked due to landslides caused by rain.
“It takes around five hours to reach Martadi from Kolti on foot,” said Nahakul Rokaya, Manisha’s husband. “My wife was in a critical condition and we did not have much time.”
Fortunately, Manisha was rescued and taken to Surkhet on a helicopter under the President Women Upliftment Programme of the federal government.
“An ambulance was on standby at Surkhet Airport that took her directly to Karnali Provincial Hospital. The health institution saved the lives of both the mother and child by immediately carrying out a surgery,” said Rokaya.
Manisha and her newborn have been recuperating at their relative’s house in Nepalgunj after they were discharged from the hospital. “I thought that I would die. The timely rescue saved me as well as my baby. Both of us are fine now,” said Manisha.
Helicopter rescues carried out by the President Women Upliftment Programme of the federal government have saved the lives of many pregnant women and postpartum mothers from the remote villages of Sudurpaschim Province.
A total of 82 women have been rescued under the programme in the last three years. As per the data available at the district administration offices of the respective districts, 33 women from Bajhang, 23 from Achham, 19 from Bajura, three from Darchula and two each from Baitadi and Doti were airlifted to hospitals for timely treatment.
The rescue programme has been implemented in Baitadi, Bajura, Achham, Dadeldhura, Darchula, Bajhang and Doti districts of the province.
Dhana Saud of Sigas Rural Municipality-6 in Baitadi district suffered from heavy bleeding after giving birth at a health centre a few months ago.
Her blood pressure had dipped and her condition was critical due to continuous bleeding so her treatment was not possible here, said Parbati Bohara, an auxiliary nursing midwife at the health centre.
“I immediately called the Baitadi District Hospital. A Nepal Army helicopter rescued her after three hours,” said Bohora. “She was airlifted to Nepalgunj on time, which saved her life.”
People of various hill districts in Sudurpaschim Province do not have easy access to health institutions. It takes hours to reach the nearest health post as several rural settlements are yet to be connected with the road network.
Even the district hospitals in the province are unable to provide treatment to patients with critical health complications. Such patients have to be referred to Mahendranagar or Dhangadhi for treatment.
“It takes around two to three days to reach Dhangadhi or Mahendranagar by road. Some patients, mainly pregnant women and postpartum mothers, need to be taken to the hospital at the earliest,” said Prakash Joshi, a doctor at the district hospital in Bajura. “Air rescues have helped save the lives of many such women in the province.”
Likewise, the Sudurpaschim Province government has also launched a similar programme to rescue pregnant women and postpartum mothers from remote villages. According to Hemraj Khadka, a senior official at the Social Development Ministry of Sudurpaschim Province, nine women have been airlifted under the province’s rescue programme over the past three years.
“The air rescue programme has been implemented in all nine districts of Sudurpaschim. The provincial rescue programme helps those women who were left out by the President Women Upliftment Programme,” said Khadka.