Nepal: Civilians caught in conflict

Nepal is among the world's poorest countries, and as a result, health services are nonexistent in many places, leaving most people without basic health care.

In the mountainous western area of Rukum, MSF runs the district hospital, treating patients, supplying medicines and clean water and managing waste disposal and hygiene. Most of the 190,000 people populating this region live amid widespread poverty, illiteracy and the threat of violence.

The small hospital is located in an enclave under government control, near areas controlled by Maoist forces. In 2004, the MSF team in Rukum carried out an average of 64 hospitalizations and 830 consultations per month.

MSF plans to expand its work outside of Rukum village later in 2005 in order to help those living in the surrounding area. Plans are also underway to send an MSF team into the region's mountains for three months to treat ill civilians while also assessing general needs.

Many areas remain accessible only by foot. In addition, MSF has conducted an exploratory mission in the Terai Valley along the Indian border, an area inhabited by displaced people who have fled the conflict's violence.

In July 2005, MSF opened a primary health care project in the western region of Kalikot. This project, carried out in collaboration with the ministry of health, provides outpatient and inpatient treatment and emergency care.

MSF has worked in Nepal since 2002.