Nyaya Health Nepal responds to COVID-19

KATHMANDU: Nyaya Health Nepal (NHN), an organisation which provides healthcare to under-served communities in the country, in addition to providing regular healthcare services has been addressing challenges presented by the coronavirus crisis.

In partnership with the Ministry of Health and Population, the organisation manages and delivers healthcare in two locations: Achham, a remote district in Sudurpaschim Province that experienced disinvestment during the decade-long civil war, and Dolakha in Bagmati Province, one of the epicentres of the 2015 earthquakes.

The organisation works with local governments to design, build, test, and replicate integrated healthcare delivery systems across the country so that quality care reaches the people. At present, a team of nearly 400 staffers provides for 150,000 facility visits, 8,000 surgeries, and 125,000 home visits across a catchment area of 245,000 population, each year.

According to the organisation, NHN has been putting in efforts to ensure that those who are medically under-served have access to quality healthcare while at the same time adapting to and addressing the challenges of virus spread during this global healthcare crisis.

Joining the fight against Covid-19 crisis, they have established isolation rooms and fever clinics in Bayalpata Hospital and Chaurpati Primary Health Centre in Sudurpaschim Province, and Charikot Hospital in Bagmati Province. At this crucial time for healthcare professionals, frontline health workers have been trained on self-care and infection prevention and are on duty while other key staff are on standby, positioned for any support requested by the government.

NHN’s integrated healthcare model includes three main components - intervention at the public facility to improve management and quality of care, home-based care through Community Health Workers (CHW) network to ensure timely case identification, appropriate treatment, counselling or referrals, and follow-up, and thirdly, an electronic health record (EHR) that serves as the digital platform through which to integrate data and coordinate care between the facility and the home.

Community Health Workers associated with NHN are providing care remotely, such as counselling pregnant women and mothers with children under the age of two, supporting the municipalities and health facilities in care delivery as needed, and counselling on Covid-19 at the health posts. Since the onset of the pandemic, they are also providing mental health counselling remotely through psychosocial counsellors for Covid-19 patients and others, as needed.

NHN has developed Covid-19 screening pages on Electronic Health Record, the digital systems that record all patient treatment, used at the facility, and Covid19 counseling module in Comcare used in the community. This provides vital information to assist in monitoring the spread of the virus in their catchment communities. They have been doing Rapid Diagnostic Testing (RDT) and coordinating with the municipal, provincial, and federal governments regarding Covid19 response work. Their Covid19 response work is regularly updated on their webpage.

At present, NHN works in nine municipalities within two provinces. In three of these municipalities, they operate hospitals along with surrounding CHW networks. The CHWs are integrated with facility-based care via the EHR. They also operate CHW networks six additional municipalities.

As the pandemic rages on, NHNs approach looks at all tiers of the health system to determine what type of care can be optimised that is cost effective, accessible and affordable.

Isolation Booth for screening Covid patients in Bayalpata Hospital. Photo: Nyaya Health Nepal
Isolation Booth for screening Covid patients in Bayalpata Hospital. Photo: Nyaya Health Nepal