Within two days of hearing about the earthquake in Nepal Dr. Sharon Shaul, a family doctor and mother of four, had dropped everything and was getting ready to boarda plane to Kathmandu.
Together with Dr. Dalya Navot and our partners on the ground, Dr. Shaul travelled to remote villages, sometimes several hours drive or walk away from the nearest medical center, where she established makeshift medical clinics and treated hundreds of people who had no other access to medical care. Natan's dedicated volunteer medical teams have so far treated over 2400 people, and have begun training local health teams in first aid and disaster relief.
While most of the international aid relief was centered around the capital city Kathmandu, the damage was most severe in many of the outlying villages. With the support of local partner NGO’s, Dr. Shaul and her team travelled to distant villages where they would set up temporary mobile clinics for a day or two. Each doctor treated approximately 50 people per day, providing emergency and primary care to the sick and injured
Why did you volunteer?
I have volunteered with Natan in a number of countries worldwide: In Haiti following the earthquake in 2010, then the Philippines following the typhoon in 2013, and now in Nepal. You hear about these terrible events on the news, but the feeling that you can actually do something to help - even if it's very small, makes you want to do whatever you can. And arriving so soon after a disaster, when there is still chaos and thousands of people whose lives are at risk if they don’t receive basic primary healthcare, makes you feel that even if you are only there for a short period you are really making a difference.
Tell us of a meaningful experience you had in Nepal
One eight day old baby had fever and loss of appetite. I treated him with antibiotics, and a nurse stayed in the village to supervise him for a few days. For us it seems so trivial to prescribe antibiotics, but to reach the nearest health post the family would have had to walk for many hours, and the baby would have most probably died without this simple medical intervention.
What advice would you give other potential volunteers?
I believe that the most important thing is to have respect for the local people. We are only there for a few weeks or months. We can’t fully understand the culture or what the daily lives of the people will be like after we leave. So we always listen and respect the input of local people and community leaders.