Offering relief to our colleagues in Nepal
A fund has been created to support relief for Nepal.
I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say I was shocked to hear about the latest devastation in Nepal this morning, when another deadly earthquake occurred in the region. We continue to lend our support to the area, its people and the organizations that are on the ground, working hard to assist those in need.
Dear friends and colleagues,
In the wake of the major earthquake in Nepal on April 25, the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry is following events closely as they continue to unfold. To date, we know that there has been catastrophic loss of life, countered by untold acts of heroism and bravery. We keep the Nepali people in our thoughts, and we will continue to do everything we can to support our many faculty, learners and community members who have ties to Nepal.
Over the last five years, the faculty’s UAlberta PAHS Nepal Global Health Group has contributed significantly to the establishment of a new health professional school in Kathmandu—the Patan Academy of Health Sciences. Working together with with health professional educators from around the world, our faculty has provided valuable leadership to the PAHS International Advisory Board (IAB). The IAB in turn has collaborated with faculty and staff at PAHS to develop their health care professional programs, including medicine, to fulfil their mission to improve the health of all Nepalis, especially those in rural Nepal. A message from the IAB, dated April 26, said in part:
“ … Thankfully, almost of our colleagues with whom we have worked for the last decade have now been accounted for, and they and their immediate families are safe, including those connected with Patan Hospital and PAHS, Model Hospital, Tilganga Eye Hospital and the Nick Simons Institute. One sad exception is that Bishnu, an extremely dedicated and irrepressibly cheerful driver who has worked with us first at KUMS and now at PAHS, has lost his wife and mother-in-law.
Second, the physical infrastructure at all of these institutions, as well as at the four district hospitals connected with PAHS, are largely intact. The staff and students have been putting in a heroic effort to assist the people injured in this event. While we would expect no less of them, we are also extremely proud of their response.
The situation on a broader scale is extremely serious. The list of reported casualties continues to grow; currently the army unofficially estimates the death toll will rise above 5,000 [NOTE: As of April 28, this number has risen to an estimated 5,700]. Many outlying communities and villages are completely destroyed. Power, water and transportation are devastated. Many dead and injured are in remote areas with little contact, all the more inaccessible following the destructive force of the quake. And in the coming days, the country will additionally need to deal with secondary consequences. Water is already becoming problematic in some places. Other needs are, and will be, enormous; including the need for medicines, food, water, shelter and other supplies.”
This brings us to the question of how we can best help. Two international charitable organizations, the Red Cross and Medicins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders Canada is on the ground providing critical care to those in need. The federal government has also stated it will match all funds raised for Nepal dollar-for-dollar that are donated through the Red Cross until May 25.
The UAlberta PAHS Nepal Project is a rich expression of how the faculty and the university are helping to serve under-privileged communities through our global health program. Supported by the faculty’s Global Health Program in the Division of Community Engagement, this initiative engages faculty members, students, residents and numerous members of the community in Edmonton.
We are confident that our resilient friends and colleagues in Nepal will prevail through this tragedy to rebuild their lives and their country. We anticipate that the relationship between the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta and the Nepali people will only grow and become stronger.
We will update this message as information becomes available.
Richard N Fedorak, MD, FRCPC, FRCP (London), FRSC
Interim dean, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry
Originally published April 30, 2015.