EpiNurse project in Nepal keeps the momentum going
The EpiNurse project in Nepal serves with special digital trainings to provide medical care in emergencies. The project continues to help people in disaster affected areas. It is expanding steadily.
The Nursing Association of Nepal (NAN) as the winner of the 2017 RISK Award is responsible for the EpiNurse project and is steadily improving and expanding it. The project aims to enhance and digitalise the health monitoring and patient care in Nepal in the event of disasters and afterwards in order to ultimately prevent the outbreak of diseases. It offers promising outcomes for three challenges: the lack of a nation-wide health care system in Nepal, the digitalization of currently often handwritten patient data, and the lacking uniformity of medicine and aid ordering processes.
At the heart of the project is a digital information and communication technology (ICT) system, comprised of monitoring tools, a web platform and an app. The EpiNurses (standing for epidemiology and nurses) use this technology to gather medical data. This allows them to identify health risk and improve the provision of medical care.
Flooding in Bhaktapur District
Heavy incessant rains on 11 and 12 July 2018 caused the Hanumate River in the Bhaktapur district of Nepal to flood, leading to severe damages and landslides. Three people were killed, four injured and thousands displaced. An EpiNurse team visited the affected area to identify losses and to asses the health and environmental risks associated with the flood as well as the shelter quality. The data collected by the team showed that a lack of sanitation and clean drinking water, crowded health facilities, and the odor of dead and decayed animals caused health problems in that area.
The team concluded that outbreaks of water- and vector borne diseases were major potential health hazards. In response, it offered health education regarding sanitation and hygiene to affected people. The installation of temporary drainage systems, the provision of safe drinking water and the conduction of door to door health checkup programs were then provided by local leaders and the army.
Trainings, expansion and improvement
Next to visiting disaster affected areas, the EpiNurse project is focusing on building up its capacities and competencies. The team successfully trained 66 additional local nurses to be certified EpiNurses in two training sessions. In various workshops and consultation meetings, the team members enhanced their knowledge about how they can contribute to disaster risk reduction in Nepal. Aslo, how they can increase the sustainability of the project. Further, they were informed about the so called “Minimum Data Set” surveillance tool for disaster situations, developed by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Another milestone was the development of a first draft of a EpiNurse Training Manual as a result of consultation meetings and feedback from the trained nurses. This manual includes improved training methods and will provide clear guidance to trainers. After having collected large amounts of feedback on the app they use, the EpiNurse team now will work on improving it making it more intuitive and user-friendly.
The RISK Award funding for EpiNurses will be ending in June 2019. The program is fully integrated in the courses, lectures and trainings which are being offered by NAN. Hence, the EpiNurse project will continue its unique success story. The RISK Award helped to initiative the concept and to overcome a funding gap. We hope that this successful system will be multiplied in other countries with the same sort of risks and challenges.
26 April 2019