Students haul generator to raise funds for Nepal hospital

26 September 2013
leprosy-mssion-group
The students, left to right: Dylan Kimpton, Kit Haines, Rachel Heslop, Harriet Judd, Cameron Dyer and Ivan Roberston, in front of a low-cost house that was provided for a family in need by a self-help group in the community.

A group of University of Auckland students will be hauling a generator around Albert Park for 10 hours straight on Friday in a bid to raise funds to help a leprosy hospital near Kathmandu in Nepal.

The four third-year medical students and one law student visited the hospital on a Leprosy Mission Youth Advocates Scholarship earlier this year and saw how the region’s largest leprosy hospital struggled to operate on an erratic power supply.

“Kathmandu experiences power cuts daily of up to 16 hours a day, and these interfere with the operation of the Anandaban Leprosy Mission Hospital”, says Rachel Heslop.  “When the power goes off the technician on site has to go and manually turn on the hospital’s small and aging generator, because it doesn't have an auto-start switch.”

“It’s a big problem when running expensive machines like digital x-rays, especially at night and during surgeries as the doctors need a power supply to complete the surgery in a safe and sterile manner.”

They are hoping to raise $21,000 to go towards a new generator 100 KVA, silent, water cooled diesel generator with an auto start option.

The University of Auckland students are Rachel Heslop, Ivan Robertson, Cameron Dyer and Dylan Kimpton. (Another New Zealand student, from Victoria University of Wellington, who was also took part in the scholarship is fundraising separately for the generator).

They intend to haul the generator on wheels, around Albert Park for ten hours on Friday with the help of other student volunteers, to help raise awareness of their fundraising initiative .

The students were motivated by the dedication and care that the hospital staff showed despite operating on a small budget by western standards.

They saw first-hand that leprosy carried with it a huge stigma and discrimination for people suffering from leprosy and even for the medical staff and support staff who worked at the hospital.

“Each one of us were impressed by the holistic approach that the team there take - providing a very high standard of both medical care and rehabilitation for their patients on what was an inconceivably small budget for us westerners,” says Rachel.

“One of the hardest things about living with leprosy is the discrimination from others, even family and friends, even though it can be made non-infectious after just 48 hours treatment,” she says.

 

For more information contact:

Suzi Phillips Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences,Communications The University of Auckland. Email s.phillips@auckland.ac.nz