Healthcare in Humla
Up to now, healthcare facilities have been very limited in Humla, while sanitation is poor and access to safe drinking water is a constant issue.
Healthcare development indicators in Humla
- Life expectancy at birth – 54 years
- Child mortality – up to 30% in some areas
- Percentage of infants under 2 weeks old suffering from diarrhoea – 25%
- Percentage of infants under 2 weeks old suffering acute respiratory infection – 50%
- Drinking water coverage – 64.5%
- Percentage of families using toilets – 25%
- Births attended to by trained health workers – 2%
- Percentage of birthing complications successfully managed – 8%
In many parts of Humla, healthcare is non-existent. While theoretically there are 26 government-run health posts scattered across the district, most of these are closed, and the few that are open have little or no medicine. Many people have had to walk up to 10 days to buy basic medicine in the capital town, Simikot. Sanitation is poor, with few families having a toilet, and limited access to safe drinking water. As a result, water borne diseases such as cholera are prevalent during the monsoon season, and many people die from preventable illnesses such as diarrhoea.
Child and infant mortality rates in Humla are among the worst in Nepal, and there is no facility outside of Simikot to allow women to give birth in a safe environment. In remote rural areas, it is often thought that childbirth contaminates the family home, so women can be forced to give birth in very unsanitary conditions such as the family’s cowshed. If a woman has birthing complications, it is not possible to have a caesarean section in Humla. The nearest proper hospital is a 15 day walk or a one hour flight away from Simikot, and the flight alone is far beyond the financial capability of most families.
1 District Development Plan 2008, District Information and Documentation Centre, District Development Committee, Humla
2 District Profile and Analysis, District Development Committee 2007