«Living Kathmandu» er en reportasjebok på 150 sider som ble laget på oppdrag for den amerikanske organisasjonen Friends of Patan Hospital. Intervjuene og fotografiene ble tatt i mars/april 2011. Boka ble trykket i Kathmandu i september 2012 med et opplag på 2000 eksemplarer.
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«Urban youngsters and rural farmers. Former monks and craftsmen. People from all ethnic groups and religions. The patients who have shared their lives in this book are diverse. Together they represent the impressive number of people being treated at Patan Hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal, every year. Behind the statistics, these are people with stories to tell. Stories of gratitude to the hospital staff who helped them in their moments of despair. Stories of financial struggle. Stories of hope amidst personal crisis. Stories of life and death. And stories of love.
Most often, the story is not of a single patient but of a whole family’s life, since in Nepal no man is an island. One cannot even be admitted to the hospital without an accompanying caretaker—a friend or family member to care for you, make food for you, and comfort you in the long hours of uncertainty and fear. Also, the consequences of being sick are far more drastic in a country such as Nepal without adequate social safety nets. If the breadwinner of a family is forced to stay in a hospital for months, the lives of the whole family are devastated.
Nepal is the poorest county in Asia and ranks 144th out of 177 countries on the UN Human Development Index, which measures literacy, education, life expectancy and GDP per capita. Life expectancy at birth is only 61 years, but this represents great progress from a life expectancy of 36 years only sixty years ago. About half of all children under five are malnourished, and infant mortality is 56 per 1,000 births. Also, the discrepancies between rural and urban areas are dramatic, making life outside the cities even worse. Patan Academy of Health Sciences (PAHS) grew out of Patan Hospital to meet these challenges. In this book we will meet the students of PAHS who are the future of health care in Nepal.
Since 1981, Patan Hospital has been a beating heart in the Kathmandu valley, meeting the challenges of life in Nepal with compassion and care. It has a strong reputation for clinical excellence and a well-established ethos of service to the poor and disadvantaged. With a total budget of US$6 million, the hospital’s statistics are impressive. But none of it would be possible without the committed doctors and staff who are making a difference in people’s lives every day.
Life does not always turn out as planned. Too many dreams are crushed in poverty, underemployment, and the realities of life in Kathmandu. But inside the doors of Patan Hospital, no one is turned away, even when they have no money to pay for their treatment. It’s a tough mission in one of the world’s poorest countries.»