When the earth began to shake the afternoon of April 25, Salina, 8, was playing with friends outside her home in a rural village 56 miles from Kathmandu. She lost her balance while climbing on a rock slab and fell several feet to ground, hitting her head and breaking her right arm. Part of her home and much of her village was destroyed.
“There was no health care available in our area, and we had to wait two days before being evacuated to a hospital in Kathmandu,” said Salina’s grandfather, who has stayed by her bedside ever since arriving. Salina is now under the care of Handicap International staff, who have been helping people with serious injuries in four Katahmandu hospitals.
“We’re now seeing more people with injuries coming in from the rural areas,” says Pushpak Newar, Handicap International’s rehabilitation technical manager in Nepal. “People are arriving by car, public transportation, ambulances, and helicopters.”
Because of the delay in receiving proper treatment for their injuries, people arriving now at hospitals are more at risk of complications, including the development of permanent disabilities and the need for amputation.
“We are advising Salina’s family on how to prevent complications related to her prolonged immobility,” says Jay, a Handicap International physical therapist. “Soon, we will provide her with a brace to support her arm as it heals.”
“We must ensure that injured people can access good follow-up care,” says Newar. “The urgency does not stop outside the operating room."