IMET2000 Launches its Response to COVID-19 in India Through Shivia
April 18, 2020
The global COVID-19 pandemic is taking off in South East Asia and in Africa and is most devastating in low resource societies and communities. Although the biology and pathology of this virus is still poorly understood it appears that it is more infectious and more lethal in people of colour for reasons unknown. Large organisations such as the World Health Organisation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are quite rightly throwing immense resources at this scourge. However, and just as important, IMET2000 is impressed by the local responses of small organisations like our friends working in West Bengal, the charity Shivia. IMET2000 has supported them in a small way over several years but believe their current response to COVID-19 as worth more investment. To add to the Shivia activities in maternal health and improved agriculture, the charity is supporting women to turn out much needed personal protective equipment (PPE) as a cottage industry. For example one group of women are already producing 5000 masks per week. This is exactly what we are doing in Palestine and Uganda exploiting local skills to make PPE to WHO specification and under license make such essential health aids as respirators to save COVID-19 patients in their under-resourced hospitals. To provide gainful employment and income is an added bonus in poor rural communities. In the You Tube to view here, the impressive Founder and Director of Shivia, Olivia Donnelly, talks us through the activities they supported before the pandemic struck. You are recommended to watch and listen to the first 10 minutes. IMET2000 is making a substantial grant to support their COVID-19 project producing PPE.
IMET2000 is Proud to Support Shivia and Nirdhan in West Bengal
April 16, 2020
As part of our growing interest in culture and decent living standards as the pyramid base of holistic community health, the psycho-social fabric and preventative medicine in low-resource countries (particularly relevant in the current COVID-19 epidemic), IMET2000 is proud to support the UK charity Shivia and its Indian partner Nirdhan in its excellent work in West Bengal. We have been particularly interested in their projects helping destitute women and their children and therefore relevant to our global interest in maternal health. This has been reinforced today by the news that these women are now responding to the COVID-19 virus threat in India by producing PPE to WHO spec at a rate of 5000 items per week. The health of these poor villagers (and resistance to pandemics) has to depend too on good nutrition and the Shivia-Nirdhan agricultural programme is ever more important. As IMET2000 has such an interest in the Health Sector in Africa, we learn from this Shivia programme models of self- sustainability which could be universal and translated to our own projects in Uganda, Malawi and Ghana.
IMET2000 Trustee Dr Rebecca Inglis Joins WHO in Laos
April 1, 2020
Our Trustee Dr Rebecca Inglis who has made her career in medical education and training, and specialised in working up bespoke curricula for low-income countries, has been working in Laos, partly to raise standards in critical care and emergency nursing and partly to accumulate hard data for her Oxford-based PhD thesis. She has already produced exceptional training and educational curricula for our colleagues in Gaza and visited the strip with an Oxford Mission led by Nick Maynard a couple of years ago.
She was intending to return home from Laos in early April. However, because of the COVID-19 threat in Laos she has joined the World Health Organisation to help prepare the health system for the pandemic and is staying on. All in IMET2000 applaud this brave decision and are proud she is one of us. Her letter and photos say it all.
“I am still in Laos and have joined the WHO to help the country prepare for COVID-19. It is wretched being so far away from family and friends but a privilege to be in a position to be able to help. Through my PhD work I have spent the past 3 years getting to understand the level of care we are able to provide to critically ill patients here. This has suddenly become crucial knowledge to plan and support the emergency response. In practical terms I’m advocating for ramping up our ability to deliver oxygen rather than mechanical ventilation in the hope that will save more lives.
Hoping everyone stays safe and sending best wishes from Laos.
IMET2000 Feasibility Study in Tibet Ability Centre
December 7, 2019
Between November 9th and 14th, our IMET2000 Trustee Dr Hasanen Al Taiar joined the CEO of the Tibet Relief Fund (TRF) Ms Philippa Carrick in Dharamsala in north India to look at child mental health problems in Tibetan refugee children in camps and settlements. Mental trauma in children is one of our two main interests worldwide as a healthcare charity.In 2005, Mills et al., concluded that the prevalence of serious mental health disorders within this Tibetan refugee population is markedly elevated. The prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) ranged from 11–23%, anxiety ranged from 25–77%, and major depression ranged from 11.5–57%. The main purpose of our feasibility study was to see whether a joint TRF-IMET2000 project training Tibetan health and social workers in child mental health problems could provide a model for refugee settlements in India and Nepal.This is Dr Hasanen’s brief report.
Day 1: We visited the Tibetan Ability Center (TAC) which is a non-profit organisation based in Dharamsala. They have worked extensively over the last many years to reach out and support People with Disability from the underprivileged segment in various Tibetan settlements in India.In May 2017, TAC established a Disability Resource Center in McLeod Ganj, Dharamsala funded by Tibet Relief Fund and is the first of its kind in the Tibetan Diaspora in India. The Disability Resource Centre has 2 sections, one for inclusive education and the other is an early intervention therapy/psychotherapy section.TAC aspires to an inclusive society where every individual is ensured equal opportunities in a dignified manner and persons with disabilities become contributing members, living with dignity and respect. Its mission is to improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities and to provide preventive, remedial and rehabilitative treatment to the differently abled and elderly people. It also aims to increase the awareness about the social needs of the differently abled person and building knowledge and capacities on inclusive practices. We then visited a family who have a young boy with Down’s Syndrome and that showed how TAC has been actively involved in supporting the parents (through raising awareness and psychotherapy) and children via physiotherapy and education.
We also visited Delek Hospital where we met the Chief Medical Officer who advised that the medical field’s main problem is retention of newly qualified doctors who spend brief periods of time serving the Tibetan community before moving on to more remunerative job offers in other parts of India or abroad. Tuberculosis (TB) and gastric cancers are the main physical pathologies observed in this Tibetan ppulation. Children are at a higher risk of disease and death from drug resistant -TB, but respond well to medication. They are harder to diagnose, partly because smaller children cannot cough up sputum samples needed for laboratory tests.
Day 2: We visited a Tibetan settlement in ChauntraWe visited the medical centre and spoke to staff there. We had discussions with the managing director, GP, dentist, lab technician and physiotherapist. The centre is equipped with basic medical and dental appliances. There was a lack of ambulance cars (currently use old jeep cars to transport patients to the nearest hospital in Kangra which is about 40 miles away and that trip could take more than an hour during traffic), physiotherapy equipment, dental X-ray machines and some laboratory processors to measure liver functions, lipids and hormones.In addition, we paid visits to two schools where we met the headmasters, teachers and some students. We also paid visits to a class for children with special educational needs e.g. autism, epilepsy and learning disability. Staff have done a great job in improving the vocational and academic skills of these children.
Recommendations: Both Philippa Carrick (TRF) and I recommend that IMET2000 should go ahead in a joint partnership to train to a higher standard in child mental health initially with the Tibet Ability Centre by:
- Improving the healthcare provision via equipment, resources and staffing.Training doctors and other allied health professionals (exchange programmes?).Building professional capacity in people dealing with special needs.
Dr Hasanen Al Taiar, Trustee IMET2000 and Forensic Psychiatrist, Oxford.
The new IMET2000 Trustee Dr Rebecca Inglis has written to say she has decided to stay working in Laos until April 2020 and will then return to Oxford. She is working up learning urricula with young Laotian health workers and this is an important strand in IMET 2000 programme of higher training in Asia. We are pleased to see it is not all work and no play as she has sent this lovely photo of her training for the next Dragon Boat race!
Latest IMET Project: Tibetan Ability Centre Mental Health Training
The Tibetan Ability Centre (TAC) is a registered non-profit organization working for differently-abled persons living in various Tibetan refugee settlements in India. The TAC offers medical rehabilitation support, social support, inclusive education awareness and training, and community-based rehabilitation services aimed at social and economic independence.
At present, the Tibet Relief Fund (TRF) has already funded the establishment of a fully operational Disability Resource Centre in Dharamshala, northern India – the first of its kind for the Tibetan exile community in India. Under TAC, the Disability Resource Centre opened its doors in early 2018 to local children and young people with disabilities, their families and teachers, offering practical support, training and advice to ensure those with special needs get the best education possible and are supported to achieve their potential. In its first 12 months, the Centre worked directly with 140 children and young people with special needs and their families, providing, amongst other things, physiotherapy, early intervention therapy and counselling.
Starting with a feasibility study to be conducted jointly by TRF and IMET at the end of October 2019, this project will explore the needs for training staff in different child mental health syndromes and then how best to proceed with training either locally or overseas exploiting both face-to-face and online learning.
IMET and Tibet Relief Fund Sign Memorandum of Understanding
July 24, 2019
As an important event in the evolution of IMET as a global network, the charity today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Tibet Relief Fund with a mission to work in India and Nepal in the Tibet refugee camps. Our first project is scheduled to start in October when the CEO of the TRF , Philippa Carrick, and our Trustee Dr Hasanen Al-Taiar will conduct a feasibility study in a children’s community badged as the Tibetan Ability Centre. The aim will look at upgrading education and training of staff dealing with paediatric mental health problems and learning difficulties. We in IMET are really excited by this opportunity to exploit the skills we have gained in this area of health need after many years of experience in the Middle East and other conflict zones.