Taylor Kennedy

Rebuilding Nepal: Reflections from a GlobeMed Alumnus

Nick James Macaluso, an alumnus of GlobeMed at Tufts, is currently working with our partner organization, Practical Help Achieving Self-Empowerment (PHASE) Nepal at their headquarters in Bhaktapur. He answered some questions about his experience over email.

IMG_0120PHASE’s new office building

Nick James (NJ) Macaluso graduated from Tufts last year and was a GlobeMed member during his time as an undergraduate. He served as GlobeMed at Tufts’ Grassroots Onsite Work (GROW) Coordinator on our executive board. The GROW team organizes our summer internship projects; NJ was able to visit PHASE Nepal during the summer of 2014 as a GROW intern. He is currently working with PHASE Nepal at their headquarters in Bhaktapur. He works under the Communications Manager, and has been helping with PHASE’s website, including creating graphics and generating future website content, among other projects.

NJ’s biggest project with PHASE so far has been creating a summary sheet for each Village Development Committee (VDC) where PHASE works; he described a VDC as “kind of like the subgroup of each district—for example, Rayale is a VDC of Kavre.”  These summary sheets include project information, donors, and demographic information.

NJ is also helping plan the 2016 GROW trip. His history with GROW and previous role as GlobeMed at Tufts’ GROW Coordinator has informed his work with PHASE in this aspect. He wrote, “As coordinator last year, a big part of my job was figuring out how to make the trip unique from the previous year, and I’ll continue to do that here on the ground in Nepal.” NJ will be traveling to Rayale, where this year’s team will be placed, to evaluate their needs and help next year’s team develop a project that will benefit PHASE.

IMG_0275The view from where NJ is living in Nepal

Earthquake Damage

The massive earthquakes in Nepal on April 25th and May 12th of 2015 and their aftershocks left thousands of families without homes or livelihoods; the earthquake on April 25th was of 7.8 magnitude; the two major aftershocks on May 12th were of 7.3 and 6.8 magnitude. On NJ’s first night, there was another earthquake of 5.3 magnitude. He wrote, “It was absolutely terrifying, but such aftershocks have become the norm for most people in Nepal.” NJ was in Kathmandu at the time, relatively far from the epicenter in Sindhupalchowk, so he was unharmed.

NJ stated that since his arrival in Nepal, he has seen countless construction projects. However, Bhaktapur and Kathmandu, the two areas he has visited so far, were not among the areas that were severely damaged by the earthquake. According to NJ, many popular tourist sites were damaged; tourism is a large contributor to Nepal’s economy. For example, two of the sites he visited on his first trip to Nepal—Bhaktapur’s Durbar Square and Basantapur—have been significantly damaged by the earthquakes.

IMG_0152Damage in Bhaktapur from the earthquakes

PHASE Nepal’s Relief Efforts

Like the organization’s name suggests, self-empowerment is central to PHASE’s mission. As stated on their website, PHASE Nepal’s vision is “A self-empowered and self-sustained society, where all kinds of discrimination are absent.” PHASE Nepal is a non-profit, non-governmental, nonpolitical, social development organization founded in 2006. PHASE Nepal’s core programming includes health, education, and livelihood projects for disadvantaged populations in the Himalayan regions of Nepal. PHASE strives to break the cycle of poverty in these regions by helping communities achieve a self-sufficient future.  

In addition to these core projects, PHASE has implemented an Emergency Relief Program for VDCs of Gorkha, Sindhupalchowk, and other districts. NJ wrote, “These projects include distribution of shelter materials and other necessary items, construction of school TLCs (Temporary Learning Centers), roof reconstruction, winterization projects, and WASH [Water And Sanitation for Health] projects. PHASE attracted many new donors around the world after the earthquake who have been responsible for these projects.”

IMG_0272Students celebrating Saraswati, a school holiday devoted to the Goddess of Education/Knowledge

GlobeMed After College

NJ said, “My involvement in GlobeMed definitely made this all 100% possible!” He also stated that things our chapter discussed during our weekly Global Health University (ghU) lessons have informed his volunteer work. For example, one of his projects is updating PHASE’s donors on Nepal’s progress in the Millennium Development Goals, a topic we covered in ghU last semester. He added, “GlobeMed is definitely a great tool for those who would like to work with NGOs or have a career in public health. Even the structure of GlobeMed is similar to the office structure of PHASE, and it’s nice to feel comfortable in this setting, delegating work within teams and sub-committees.”

IMG_0233NJ with some students of Shankhadhar Memorial School, which is located right near the PHASE office, during their Parents Day program. The students did performances, such as dancing, singing, playing musical instruments, karate, gymnastics. 

Learn more about PHASE Nepal through their website and 2014-2015 Annual Report.

Learn more about GlobeMed at Tufts through our Facebook page.

Consider donating to PHASE through GlobeMed at Tufts’ current project to support the work that Nick James Macaluso and countless others are doing to help rebuild Nepal.

Please contact tufts@globemed.org if you have further questions about GlobeMed at Tufts or about our partner organization, PHASE Nepal.

 

Taylor Kennedy is a senior majoring in Child Study & Human Development and Clinical Psychology. She served as GlobeMed at Tufts’ Director of Communications from 2013-2015.

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Video of Samson Njolomole’s talk at Tufts University

Samson Njolomole began as an HIV+ patient seeking treatment in his home country of Malawi, but soon became involved in service to help other patients like himself. He began as a translator for Partners in Health but has since risen to become a leader in the community as HIV Program Coordinator and subsequently Community Programs Manager for PIH Malawi. His passion and drive have inspired people around the world and mobilized communities in Malawi to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria, maternal health issues and much more.

Click on the link below to listen to Samson’s talk as he speaks to the Tufts community.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1EcY7vQYe45bmR6SGtrcFl5WFk/edit?usp=sharing

GlobeMed Scavenger Hunt

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At our Sunday night staff meeting, the Community Building team surprised the Tufts Globemedders with a scavenger hunt. Items on the list included pictures re-enacting the iconic Titanic scene on the top of the Tisch Library roof, posing in front of something maroon and white, playing ping-pong in the Campus Center, and of course, each group had to make the GlobeMed sign!

The teams we worked in for the scavenger hunt were also our groups for our ghU research project. We’re focusing on specific pressing health concerns in Achham, Tufts, and the Medford/Somerville area, and have split up our research into five sub-topics: infant mortality, nutrition, transportation/heath service access, sexual health, and alcoholism.

Our Community Building team comes up with fun bonding activities like the scavenger hunt to help us get to know the rest of the GlobeMed team better so that we can be more comfortable creating and sharing new ideas and projects. Take a look below at some of the pictures that resulted.

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What does every human deserve?

It’s a simple question with some very complex answers. Our mission is to inspire people to turn these answers into solutions. Come to our advocacy event co-sponsored by Tufts Engineers without Borders for a panel of global health experts who have worked with organizations like GlobeMed, Partners in Health, The Millennium Campus Network, and Nyaya Health.

Join us this Friday at 4:30pm in Robinson 253 to learn about how to turn our ideas about the basic and not so basic things every human deserves into action.

Data + People = Change

The above video describes the Medic Mobile initiative being implemented in Bayalpata Hospital. Medic Mobile in Nepal is intended to serve as a model for other countries. Through the input and retrieval of data via mobile phones, Medic Mobile can help provide information about essential public health services among community health workers, and improve these services through the availability of this data. Watch the video to learn more about this powerful movement.

Swine Flu: A Lesson in Early Detection

A recent outbreak of swine flu virus (Pandemic influenza A, or H1N1) has affected thirty-eight people in Nepal as of October 11th,about a week after the initial outbreak. According to NDTV, the last time Nepal experienced a swine flu outbreak was in 2009, when over forty fatalities resulted.

Swine flu is easily treated when detected in its initial stages. Nepal has experienced over twenty fatalities from viral fever, many due to late detection. To most of us, getting the flu wouldn’t be a huge deal. We would miss classes or work for a week, take medication, and be fine. To many Nepali people, swine flu could mean death, simply because it isn’t detected and treated fast enough. By simply providing Nepali people with a facility that’s equipped with the resources to treat things like the flu, we can make a huge difference in lowering fatality rates for diseases and inflictions most people might barely think twice about.

When Jeffrey Kaplan, a member of Nyaya Health’s Board of Directors, visited Nepal recently, he became bed-ridden with a stomach bug. He described in his blog post, “In our world, this is a temporary inconvenience.  Under the worst case, you hit the Emergency Room at your local hospital, get hooked up to an IV, and then move on with your life often within a day. … But for those billions of people without access to Bayalpata or another adequate facility, the results can be much worse.”

Call to Action: By supporting our chapter’s current project, we can prevent problems like the lack of access to proper resources. If we succeed in our mission to fund the addition of eighteen solar panels to Bayalpata Hospital, we can help provide the necessary care to Nepali people who could otherwise remain untreated.