February 5 2019
Karuna-Shechen began when Matthieu Ricard was inspired to undertake compassionate action for people in the Himalayan region. Now in our 19th year, we help over 250,000 people annually in remote v...
Many of us think tuberculosis is a disease of the past, but it remains widespread – and life-threatening – for millions of people in Nepal. Instances are prevalent in remote villages, where the poorest citizens are most vulnerable to contracting the disease and are often unable to reach or afford treatment.
The Shechen clinic fills a gap in health services by offering free, accessible care to villagers who come down from the mountains and surrounding areas to receive treatment. For many, this is the only option in a country where half don’t have access to basic health care.
Punam is one of hundreds receiving treatment for tuberculosis at the Shechen Clinic this year. She first contracted TB when she was 10 years old, helping her mother care for sick travelers who stopped by her house on their way to the hospital.
But now on her third case of TB, Punam is barely able to help herself. The mother of three has lived in extreme poverty her whole adult life and is unable to afford health care. She is also too weak to walk long distances, a common hurdle that keeps many of the country’s poor from seeking treatment. It’s no wonder TB used to be called “consumption”: it consumes strength and energy, causing the body to waste and fail as the disease progresses.
“I can barely walk 10 minutes because the TB is very debilitating,” Punam says. “I have to stop frequently.”
At Shechen Clinic, Punam is receiving the care she needs to treat her symptoms and cure her disease: a daily dose of 3 tablets and an injection. She also receives information on how TB can be transferred, what precautions need to be taken, and the importance of daily treatment.
In a few months, Punam will be cured and able to focus her energies on her family… and on strengthening her life. Her 10-year-old daughter won’t need to help as much with household chores and will be more likely to stay in school. Plus, Punam won’t be at risk of spreading TB to others, thereby making her entire community safer.
Together, we’re providing essential healthcare to those who need it most. Our efforts – and your support – will continue to extend accessible, compassionate care to others suffering from TB… an essential part of making the disease a thing of the past in Nepal.
Meet the villagers, our team, and all those who make our work possible. Discover the values that guide and inspire us. And learn how your generous support improves the living conditions of 250,000 peo...