Located in the Lumbini zone of Nepal, the rural city of Mahilwar is a 45-minute motor vehicle ride from the nearest hospital. Without an ambulance service to serve this region, residents of Mahilwar and its satellite villages do not have access to medical services when emergencies arise. The 2015 earthquake in Nepal also highlighted the need for emergency response services suitable for difficult terrain around Mahilwar.
Working under the auspices of Lumbini Social Service Foundation, project leader Henry Ashworth is working to create the self-sustaining Lumbini Emergency Response Network (LERN). LERN’s mission is to provide emergency transportation and basic first-aid services in Mahilwar and a defined ~10km surrounding rural area. LERN will serve those who, because of terrain or inadequate medical infrastructure, cannot otherwise access medical services in an emergency situation. A variety of funding models are being investigated, but the current expectation is that user fees will be levied based on ability to pay. This sustainable model, once proven, could be applied to other organizations and locations in Nepal.
Twenty volunteers have already been selected to serve in LERN. US-certified emergency medical technicians Henry Ashworth, Zena Marpet and Haven Allard, are utilizing their past experience in emergency response training, are preparing the LERN training program based on curriculum from the US National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. Henry and Zena will be donating their time to train the recruits and set up a continuing education program comprised of training videos accessible on the Internet in addition to annual in-person training through a partnership with the Eckerd College Emergency Response Team. Also, Eoin Minnock and Bronte Jong, two of fourth year medical students at University College Dublin are providing medical guidance, research assistance and support.
The missing project component is transportation. A projected US$6,000 is needed to purchase a new motorcycle and cover startup costs for supplies, gasoline, motorcycle maintenance, and public outreach for the first year. After one year, local funding from services provided is anticipated to cover annual costs of the project.
Once funding is secured for first year costs, training of the volunteers can begin. LERN could begin offering services within 6 months after funding is secured.
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