My heart was filled with joy to be at the opening of the Siddhasthali Rural Community Hospital in Hetauda, a five hour drive from Kathmandu with a fellow trustee of CHANCE – Roger Nash.
The newly painted 3-story hospital building was adorned with a fanfare of balloons and banners – even a red carpet from the road – all for the Minister of Health with his entourage arriving for the auspicious opening. TV crew and journalists were in abundance, along with approximately 700 guests seated in a colourful marquee.
It was wonderful to be shown the hospital’s interior on our own conducted tour by the proud architect, Anil, before the press arrived. He and Dr Aban had really thought of everything! …….the site is carbon neutral, with solar panels which will provide all the electricity and huge double glazed windows that bathe the interior in natural light and provide breathtakingly beautiful views over unspoiled countryside. Water is free too, due to a 60ft borehole. There is an oxygen producing plant on site (a very rare facility).
The first phase of beds, monitors and equipment trolleys were donated by CHANCE …. ie you lovely people…. and are in situ. The pharmacy, medical store and a small cafe was generously donated by Edmund O’Reilly Hyland, my longest serving trustee.
CHANCE supplied the state of the art Digital Medical X-ray Radiographic System – the envy of other hospitals in the province! – together with the special lead-lined double doors that access the X-ray suite.
As part of the proceedings we were entertained by a wonderful group of girls from the local government school, who performed traditional dances, dressed in their vibrant national costumes.
There were many speeches and the Minister of Health, politicians and local dignitaries cut the ribbon. I was honoured to be invited onto the stage as part of the party of dignitaries and asked to say a few words on behalf of CHANCE. I shared with everyone how immensely proud I was to witness the inauguration of this amazing hospital that will aim to be a hospital of excellence serving the local community and beyond, which also offers free treatment to those unable to pay. This is an incredible achievement, down to the vision, dedication and total commitment of a young doctor – Dr Aban Gautam.
Although in its infancy, the hospital sensory garden in memory of Jenny has been started and will reach its full glory as it matures, becoming a secluded place for patients and their families to enjoy.
I feel privileged to have been part of Aban’s journey and will continue to support his endeavors in the years to come.