Why Global Partners for Child Health

A little introduction: The following is the personal account of Susan Folsom, a recent graduate from the University of Utah School of Medicine who has participated in field work with Global Partners for Child Health. 

For anyone who has ever traveled to Nepal, they know that this country will be a part of you for the rest of your life. From hiking through the most majestic mountains in the world, to sipping warm milk tea around a stove in a Nepali family’s kitchen, there are few things that compare with this country, its landscape, and its incredible people and culture. 

 Ang Jangmu (Anji) teaching a course in postpartum hemorrhage management. 

Ang Jangmu (Anji) teaching a course in postpartum hemorrhage management. 

My journey began back in 2015. As a third year medical student, I approached Bernhard Fassl, an attending physician at my medical school, about doing a global health project. He recommended that I come to Nepal and work with Ang Jangmu Sherpa who was working on birthing centers in the most remote parts of the country. He described Ang Jangmu (Anji), as a brilliant Sherpa woman, trained professionally as a nurse, who was working on her own NGO. Upon hearing this I immediately conjured in my mind an image of someone old and wizened. Then, upon arriving in Nepal, I was introduced to a radiant young woman, speaking almost perfect English, who just happened to love the same TV shows that I loved and share many of the same dreams that I had. We both hoped to change the world, and as she allowed me to tag along, observing and learning from her tenacious work ethic and love for her people, I knew she was the perfect example of how. 

Whether someone is climbing a mountain or giving birth to a child, there is preparation, planning, training, and supplies required to safely complete the journey. Working in Nepal has shown me the importance of having the necessary tools for such adventures. It is dangerous to climb a mountain with limited supplies and expertise, but equally as death-defying to deliver a baby in a backyard shed without trained staff or equipment for emergency situations. While reaching a health facility in Nepal requires days of hiking through steep mountain terrain, Global Partners for Child Health is bringing the services to the villages. But even more than services, they bring knowledge. I have been privileged to participate in projects that train native health workers, in their own language and cultural context. These trainings provide simple, life-saving techniques that are evidence based and sustainable. I love this work. It has been the most inspiring and educational aspect of my medical school career.

Before I begin my residency training, I will be returning to Nepal's beautiful mountains one last time to follow Ang Dami Sherpa as she runs the Everest Marathon. I can’t wait to catch up with Anji, and continue to hear her brilliant plans for her future endeavors. I can’t wait to watch Ang Dami Sherpa run faster than the majority of the men in her field. And more than anything, I can't wait to continue to work and serve alongside such women as we strive to improve the health and lives of these mothers and their children in Nepal.

Even if you can’t donate to Global Partners for Child Health at this time, please consider sharing the link for this website. I know that this is a worthwhile cause. Many women and children will benefit from your generosity.

 

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