The team from our partner in Bangladesh, GK, arrived the day after the second quake with medical supplies and tents. I got a call at 6am in the morning when they arrived. If I could come and pick them up at the Ring Road, since they couldn’t drive into the city, because the bus was stacked so high, it couldn’t get under the electrical wires. On my bike to meet with the 12 members of the team, off loading the stuff and finding pick ups to drop it at our house. They brought around 50 boxes of medical supplies, some tents and 2.000 liters of water.

The team from GK had pooled resources with another medical colleges, Jalalabad Ragib Rabeya, to arrange the transport. They had traveled by bus for two nights, and had to change trucks or buses at each border (Bangladesh to India and India into Nepal).

Needless to say, it had been an exhausting trip and they were glad to have arrived. Though they had planned to stay at a residency, because of the earthquake the day prior, they felt it was unsafe to stay there. Hence, we got to lodge them in our house, which meant cramming them all into one room.

The next days and how to arrange the distribution however were less organized. Their initially planned mission to Nuwakot was postponed because of landslides. After a day of rest and linking up with former GK students working as doctors in Nepal, they went to Thankot, 5km outside of Kathmandu, where they saw some 200 patients. One of these was a 97 year old man, who had also lived through the 1934 earthquake which had devastated Nepal.

They treated around 200 people in  Thankot. On the 16/5, a delegation of the team met with a nearby center which was organizing voluntary missions, the Yellow House, and met with representatives of GEFONT, a Nepali Trade Union, also partner of WSM. The next day, 17th of May, Dr Sagar, one of the members, left on a two day mission to Ghorka with the Yellow house. Meanwhile, a delegation from the team met with the leadership of NTUC, another Trade Union in Nepal and also WSM partner. NTUC facilitated the hosting of two medical camps in and around Laliptur for construction, commercial and carpet workers. On the 20th of May, the remaining medication and material was handed over to the Bangladesh Embassy in Kathmandu.

During their mission and various camps, 971 (among which 398 male and 573 female) patients were treated.

Lessons learned and recommendations
1. Better plan the mission beforehand, establishing contacts which will allow for immediate and efficient medical camps to be set up and relief to be provided.
2. More information should be gathered beforehand, not only relying on media, but on local sources on the ground.
3. Supplies: some of the medicines were brought for epidemic use, which didn’t appear yet. It would have been better to bring more oral medication.
4. Some relief is done by organisation almost as part of their public relations and publicity, where relief is distributed as a photo opportunity. This can create tension with local communities and cause problems for other teams providing genuine relief.
5. The internal communication and coordination between the team members could have been improved.
6. Ensure sufficient cash flow for the team to avoid emergency situations.
7. The personal safety of team members should more of a priority, and can be ensured by involving local structures, indicating safe areas and introducing the team.

Words of thanks on behalf of their team

Letter of appreciation provided by
the Bangladesh Embassy in Kathmandu

Thanks to Gonoshasthaya Kendra management, especially the project coordinator, Dr. Manjur Kadir, who organised and supported with all the relief materials including drugs, emergency medical equipment and finance and funding from GK fund, made the health camp for earthquake victims of Nepal possible.
Again, saying only thanks is not enough to Mr. Bruno from WSM, based in Kathmandu, who guided and hosted our mission. He made our work easy and well indeed.
We are also appraise the support of our Bangladeshi Ambassador for Nepal, Her Excellency Mashfee Binte Shams, who is wonderfully representing Bangladesh in Nepal.
Our team would also  like to thank to previous students Jitendra Gupta, Arati Thapa, Bipin Chaudhary and Punam Lama who are practicing medicine  in Kathmandu valley and helped us during our health camping.
We would also like to thank NTUC, and their president Khila Nath Dahal, as well as all the members that facilitated the medical camps in and around Lalitpur.
We hope and pray, the ground will stop shaking very soon, dust will settle and you will live onto build a new Nepal.