Gift of Magi

Patan Hospital is soon going to be the largest hospital in the country at least in terms of the number of beds in the maternity ward, as the hospital, one of the oldest in the country, is starting construction of a new 140-bed facility end of this year. The project is slated to be completed in two and half years. At present, there are only 85 beds in the ward. And that is not all. The Simons couple of the New York City has agreed to donate two million dollars for the major addition in the obstetrics/gynaecology department in memory of their son, Nick Simons, who once visited Nepal and liked the people.

Nick was drowned while swimming in Bali, Indonesia, in 2003, and his last wish was to start a medical school project in Nepal. The couple, Jim and Marilyn, was inspired to help the hospital when during their first visit to the Patan Hospital they noticed six pregnant women waiting in the hallway for their delivery turns due to lack of sufficient beds. Besides, the Simons have also agreed to fund another big medical project named “Nick Simons Institute” in Nepal. Their initiative, the doctors claim, will make room for the expansion of the medical and surgery wards by 42 to 45 beds. The hospital provides health care to over 300,000 patients annually but currently it has only 320 beds with emergency services. The hospital is also expanding its private clinic from next month to cater to the poor pouring from outside the valley.

By all means it is a thoughtful commitment on the part of the Simons to the needy in Nepal. This deed of theirs has also shown that there is no frontiers when it comes to humanitarian considerations. However, it is unfortunate that similar local initiatives are remarkably few and far between at home, not to talk of the government that provide a meagre subsidy of 13 lakh rupees per year to the hospital. But instead of always blaming the government for inefficiency in social sector, one would have thought the wealthy would donate for the poor as a matter of moral obligation. The people on the whole need to be more compassionate towards the needy and the helpless. There are enough victims of various social ills in the country needing support and care from fellowmen who can afford to give whatever little they can to make a difference in the lives of the disadvantaged.