First morning sunrays had just met the peak of the Mt. Gaurishankhar when Lakhpa Sherpa started walking down the hills of northern Dolakha, carrying his 5-year-old son Pasang on his back. Pasang was suffering from an infected index finger on his right hand and needed medical attention.
Previously, they had visited the local health facility, but as it was still under the construction after the 2015 Earthquake, it was not able to help the family this time. Luckily, Lakhpa had recently learned about the Red Cross’ Basic Health Care Unit (BHCU) in Singati.
The only problem was, that the Health Care Unit was more than a one-day walking distance from their home. The father had to pass through the narrow slippery pathway with stones rolling down the mountains and use the rope to make the way down while carrying his suffering son still in his back. Only the hope of the son getting better made Lakhpa continue the difficult journey. After walking for more than eight hours, they reached Jagati where they finally got transportation to the Health Care Unit in Singati.
The medical team received little Pasang with high fever and a very bad infection on his finger. The local health post had provided antibiotics but this time the infection was so bad that they were not helping.
After two days at the medical unit, the finger was still in very bad condition. Only then the medical team decided to open the wound to inspect more. Luckily they did, as they found a rare but very serious bone infection, Osteomyelitis. With the new diagnosis, the fingertip of the infected finger had to be amputated. Without the amputation, there was a high risk that the infection could spread and, in the worst-case scenario, even become fatal.
Quickly after the operation, 5-year old Pasang’s health started to get better At first, the little one had hard times getting used to life with a shorter finger. “Where is my finger? Bring it back to me,” he used to demand from the parents and medical staff.
Finally, after 12 days Pasang was released from the Red Cross’ Basic Health Care Unit and the journey back to the home could start. For the father Lakhpa, the stay at the medical unit brought back the faith in medicine and to the Red Cross support in the vulnerable communities.
Author: Surakshya Poudel / NRCS