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Archive for August 20th, 2011

Janamaitri Hospital: A Model for Healthcare in a Future New Nepal

Posted by Rosa Harris on August 20, 2011

Intensive care in Janamaitri Hospital, photo credit: Eric Ribellarsi

From Winter Has Its End

The following is a report about the radical model hospital, Janamaitri. Janamaitri is a model of a new socialist healthcare system in Nepal, and what could become possible throughout the country if the old exploiters and oppressors are overthrown.

By Eric Ribellarsi

Janamaitri Hospital has a way of catching ones attention. It stands as a six-story tall glass building, one of the nicest looking buildings in all of Kathmandu. This is the second time I have visited this hospital.

When I stepped into a clean marble entry-way last year, and explained I was a journalist to the reception, I could tell the receptionist had mixed emotions. Clearly, there was excitement that journalists wanted to talk about this hospital, but there was also a fear. I would later learn that this sprang from a number of attacks by right-wing press on the hospital, claiming the role that the Maoists had in initiating the hospital was a reason to suppress its ability to get funding.

During my visits, I introduced to Dr. Rabindra Prasad Rajbhandari, the hospital’s Executive Officer, and the Managing Director, Krishna Sharma. Dr. Rajbhandari took a look at a rash I had free of charge. He and two other doctors laughed at me and gave me a hard time when they determined the diagnosis: lots of mosquito bites.

Dr. Rajbhandari shared a great deal of information about the hospital. Janamaitri Hospital is Kathmandu’s first “model hospital” that views itself as the beginning of a new kind of healthcare system in Nepal. It is not associated directly with the Maoist party, but the Maoists were key in initiating it. It is free or cheap for those who cannot afford health-care and for the families of martyrs of the revolution, and bases itself off a completely non-profit model.

Serve the People

Janamaitri Hospital literally translates to “friends of the people hospital.” Unlike other hospitals which are only available to the wealthy, or which are tied to foreign powers, grants, and NGOs, this hospital is based completely on donations and volunteer work by doctors who accept less pay for their work, out of a sense of “serving the people.”

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