KATHMANDU, April 2: UNICEF handed over a pre-fabricated health post funded by football star Lionel Messi to the locals of Darbung, Gorkha on Saturday amid a function organized to declare the ward as fully immunized.
The keys of the new facility were handed over to Bina Shrestha Pradhan, in-charge of the health post at Darbung, Ward No 5 of Gandaki Rural Municipality in Gorkha.
This is the first of the 74 health posts that UNICEF is supporting in the earthquake-hit areas and the first of the 14 health posts funded by Lionel Messi Foundation to have been completed, according to a statement issued by UNICEF on Sunday. “Other five health posts will be handed over soon while the remaining health posts are under construction.”
The new health facility, which also has a birthing centre, is fully furnished with medical equipment and has water supply and power back-up systems.
The new disaster-resilient health facility is expected to last more than a decade with proper maintenance. The pre-fabricated building can withstand strong wind, fire, and earthquake shocks as well as severe weather conditions, enabling the community to receive continuous care and services even in the aftermath of a disaster, claimed the UNICEF statement.
More than 1,200 health facilities were damaged during the devastating earthquake of April 2015, taking toll on the delivery of health services and exposing children and women to additional risks of health hazards.
The Darbung Health Post, destroyed by the earthquake, had since then been providing services to more than 3,500 residents from under tents.
"This handing over of the new disaster-resilient prefabricated health facilities exemplifies UNICEF's commitment to re-establish essential health services across earthquake-affected areas of Nepal," said UNICEF's Representative in Nepal Tomoo Hozumi.
Additionally, UNICEF is also helping to establish disaster-resilient cold chain system in 22 earthquake-affected districts allowing for vaccines to be stored safely without electricity for up to 10 days. UNICEF is also involved in enhancing the capacity of more than 350 health workers in effective vaccine management as well as to improve water supply in nearly 450 health facilities.