By Kanupriya Tewari
In June, Nyaya Health, an organization in Nepal supported by Partners In Health (PIH), celebrated the first anniversary of its hospital in Accham. This special day was marked by the planting of over 100 trees, shrubs, and flowers around the Bayalpata Hospital grounds as a symbol of the successes of the past and hope for growth in the future. Joined by members of the entire community, including community leaders and police force members, staff spent the afternoon planting new life throughout the grounds and cultivating their close partnership with the local community.
Though the hospital was built over 30 years ago, it only became fully operational in July 2009 when Nyaya Health, in collaboration with the Nepali Ministry of Health and Population, rehabilitated the facility after a long period of dormancy. Upon inauguration, it was equipped with outpatient and inpatient wards, an emergency ward, a maternity and delivery ward, a laboratory, and a pharmacy. Before it opened this facility, Nyaya had to refer emergency patients to a hospital over 10 hours away from their health center by bus for appropriate care.
Nyaya Health aims to develop health care services in the county’s impoverished western region of Accham. To meet this goal, it has a two-fold mission. First, develop a health care capacity that allows them to provide free community-based health care in rural Nepal. Secondly, Nyaya works to establish and disseminate a scalable model of health care delivery, specifically tailored for regions throughout the world afflicted by poverty, isolation, war, and neglect. Nyaya’s work and philosophy matches closely with PIH’s approach of working to bring the benefits of modern medical science to those most in need and to alleviate the crushing economic and social burdens of poverty that exacerbate disease. Nyaya is one of several Partner Projects that are endeavoring to implement this philosophy on a global scale by working with local communities and governments to create change.
Ryan Schwarz, Nyaya Health’s Director of Operations, describes the past year as “humbling and amazing.” The number of projects completed by the organization this past year is incredibly impressive; some of the highlights include:
- Opening their first hospital in June 2009
- Treating both a diarrheal outbreak and the effects of a prolonged drought in July/August 2009
- Developing a mortality review program in September 2009
- Forming a partnership with CIWEC Clinic and other organizations in 2009-2010
- Developing an ambulance service for the region in January 2010
- Enhancing the region’s energy resources in May 2010 by introducing triple phase electricity in the hospital
Accham is one of the poorest regions in South Asia, and shoulders some of the world’s highest mortality rates, particularly among women. A decade-long civil conflict, from 1996 to 2006, ravaged the health infrastructure of the region. Given these conditions, Nyaya recognizes the huge challenges that lie ahead as the organization moves into its second year of operating Bayalpata Hospital. The last year has been filled with challenges and successes, says Ryan. “Nyaya will keep striving, working not only for health equity in Accham, but for the global health field and the belief that health is a basic and fundamental human right.”
In the near future, Nyaya aims to continue expanding its hospital-based services—including the opening of a comprehensive surgical center and expanded inpatient services—and also to further develop their growing community health programs.
Learn more about Nyaya Health’s work here.
Watch this video featuring Nyaya Co-founder Jason Andrews, and Director of Operations Ryan Schwarz, to learn more about Nyaya’s founding and development. Also, listen to the advice these two young leaders have for other upcoming activists in the global health field: