St Albans doctor helps lead rescue effort in Nepal

The doctor is concerned about Nepal

The doctor is concerned about Nepal - Credit: Archant

Although he has lived and worked in St Albans for the best part of 20 years, Dr Arun Jha joined thousands of others who had to wait to see whether their relatives and friends were safe after the Nepalese earthquake.

Thankfully no-one he knew in his home country - including his mother and brother - was hurt in the earthquake which destroyed large parts of Kathmandu and the surrounding villages last month.

And at least he is in a position to do something to help - as chairman of Nepalese Doctors in the UK, he was asked to chair a core committee set up by the Nepalese Embassy to send out doctors to help treat the survivors.

Two teams of doctors have gone out - one to help casualties in the villages around the capital and a second comprising surgeons who are working in Kathmandu.

Within days, the surgeons had requested money to buy external plates to set fractures and through its fundraising, the committee was able to give the nod to their purchase.

Dr Jha, who is consultant psychiatrist and medical lead with the Herts Partnership Foundation Trust, said: “Both teams went for two weeks and we will meet on May 24 to take stock of things and they will tell us what was done.”

A now retired consultant in learning difficulties with the trust, Dr Chuda Karki, has also gone to Nepal to help provide psycho-social support.

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Dr Jha has worked in this country since 1986 and had no direct experience of earthquakes in Nepal while he lived there.

But he recalls the Maoist Insurgency in his home country in which some 13,000 people died.

He goes back to Nepal annually - where his brother is also a doctor - and has been carrying out work with dementia care for the past five years.

As a result he has many friends and colleagues in the country as well as relatives - all of whom, he has since learned, were safe.

To make a donation to support the work of UK doctors in Nepal go to Barclays Bank, St Albans, account: Hertfordshire Transcultural Psychiatry Forum: sort code: 20-74-09: account number 03751953.