INF-Medical Scholarship PWD/Mental Health
Nepal, with its population of 29.6 million people, is located in Asia. It is landlocked, and borders China in the north and India in the south, east and west. Nepal has endured long political uncertainty after a civil war, has few resources to grow its economy and is subject to earthquakes and landslides.
Over 25% percent of its total population are living below the poverty line and earning less than USD1.90 a day [Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), 2020]. It is ranked 149 on the UN’s Human Development Index out of 189 countries [United Nations Development Program (UNDP), 2020].
INF Nepal provides services for people affected by leprosy, spinal cord injuries and other disabilities including Cerebral Palsy, orthopaedic and spinal problems, ear problems, and obstetric fistula. There are also services available for those in need of palliative care. INF works in health and community development, and its largest hospital, established in 1957, is Green Pastures Hospital (GPH) located in Pokhara. Initially focusing on care of leprosy-affected patients, GPH has extended services to rehabilitation (including for spinal cord injury patients), surgical services, ear services and since 2014, palliative care. A key component of provision of holistic care at Green Pastures Hospital is the pastoral care team. COVID-19 has brought increased mental health and complex grief issues that are and will continue to require increased counselling skills and capacity.
MMA has committed to a 2.5 year medical scholarship in counselling, to empower a person with a disability (PWD) who is wheelchair bound due to a spinal cord injury. She is a key member of Green Pastures Hospital’s pastoral care department and empowers others with disabilities and teaches practical skills, but has had little opportunity for formal counselling training.
This training will develop her counselling skills, and increase the capacity of the pastoral care team to assist with the increased mental health issues arising from the direct and indirect effects of COVID-19.