News & Events

UNSW lecturer needs help to build hospital in earthquake-affected Nepal

UNSW lecturer Dr Ray Hodgson needs help to construct a new hospital for women and children in a remote earthquake-ravaged part of Nepal.

For the past 16 years, the Gynaecologist and Obstetrician has travelled to Nepal, and other developing regions, helping provide medical care to poor and marginalised communities.

In 2010, Dr Hodgson – who lecturers at the Port Macquarie Rural Clinical School campus –  set up Australians for Women’s Health (A4WH), which aims to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity and provide gynaecological surgery to women in developing countries.  

Often working under torchlight in freezing cold conditions of the remote mountainous regions of Nepal, Dr Hodgson and his teams have worked tirelessly to transform the lives of disadvantaged women.

“The health of families and communities is strongly tied to the health of women,” says Dr Hodgson. “The illness or death of a woman has serious consequences for the health of her children, her family and the entire community.

“In other words, healthy women and children usually reflect a healthy and well-educated community.”

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal in April 2015, laying waste to large parts of the capital Kathmandu and causing devastation across the poor Himalayan nation. More than 9,000 people lost their lives in Nepal alone, and 2.8 million Nepalese were displaced.

A4WH is attempting to help those who are still impacted by the natural disaster, and is focusing on constructing a Mothers’ and Babies’ Hospital in a part of rural Nepal that was badly affected.

“This area was hit hard by the 2015 earthquake,” Dr Hodgson says. “Our local medical clinic was destroyed, so there is desperate need for medical facilities, especially for those who are most at risk - women and children. The biggest single factor to prevent a mum dying in Nepal is to deliver her baby in a health facility.

“Once our hospital is complete, our strategy is to teach, and teach, and teach - local doctors, nurses, midwives, hospital administrators – everyone involved in the running of a hospital.  Our philosophy is to nurture independence for the local medical teams so that one day we can say to them: ‘Well – you no longer need our assistance.  You have highly trained staff in a well-run hospital; you are now self-sufficient’.”

For further information on Dr Hodgson’s project please visit the website at: www.A4WH.org

Story by RCS Media Officer Joel Katz.