Care Women Nepal seeks not just to provide treatment, but also to work towards the prevention of prolapse and other reproductive afflictions. It takes a holistic view of women’s well-being and recognizes that none of us are truly healthy without economic, cultural, and social well-being. CWN carries out its mission via health camps and arranging for surgical intervention to treat women suffering from severe uterine prolapse:
Health camps last two days and are carried out several times per year in villages within Dhankuta where health services are remote and inaccessible. CWN recruits volunteers, paramedics and gynaecologist working in nearby districts to run the camps. For many women, these health camps represent the only time that they will receive care from health professionals during the year. Health camps are free of charge for all in attendance. While the focus of the camps is on screening and treating women suffering from uterine prolapse (a condition that will be discussed in detail in the pages that follow), counseling, laboratory examinations and medication to treat various ailments is also provided.
Counselling and surgery
Women suffering from severe prolapse are promptly contacted after health camps to arrange for counseling and surgery. Within the district of Dhankuta where CWN works, there is no gynecologist. Women are unable to access sexual and reproductive services without overcoming significant barriers such as the cost of transport, time taken from economic activities and the cost of services when they arrive in Biratnagar. The trip from Dhankuta to Biratnagar is a 100km journey that takes 3 hours, but is the closest facility to Dhankuta that offers reproductive health services. CWN arranges for women and a loved one to be transported to and from Biratnagar for surgery. CWN also covers the cost of other expenses incurred during surgery such as food and lodging, enabling all women, regardless of their socioeconomic status, to realize their right to reproductive health. After patients are discharged, Care Women Nepal helps them to return home and follows up to make sure that the recovery is going smoothly.
While the government of Nepal funds a certain number of prolapse surgeries, these funds are often not adequate. Some surgeries are funded by the government as the result of a quota that has been out in place in an effort to address the high prevalence of uterine prolapse in Nepal, but this quota does not account for all women in need of surgery. Moreover, hospitals do not seek out women with prolapse or help them reach health care facilities. Care Women Nepal addresses this need by going out into the community and organizing health camps in villages where women can be screened and treated for prolapse.
Care Women Nepal pays for the transportation and lodging of doctors, transportation of surgery patients, advertizing, mobilization, and organization. The overall cost of one health camp is roughly $1,500 – about $5 for each woman who is screened. Surgery is more expensive. Although the cost of some surgeries is born by the government, Care Women Nepal has to raise about $50 to send a woman through surgery. These figures may not seem much, but they are significant for an organization that remains still largely voluntary. More funding would help Care Women Nepal expand its mobilization and reach more women
As of June 2017, Care Women Nepal has screened over 5000 women for uterine prolapse over the course of 9 health camps. CWN has also arranged, transported and supported 41 women as they underwent surgery.
Check out Care Women Nepal in action in the below video, put together by our partner organisation, The Advocacy Project: