My dad, Dr. David Ellis, is a wonderful inspiration to myself and everyone he knows. He has inspired me to always to my best and to love the work I do. He has taught me the importance of having a strong and loving family and maintaining a strong sense of integrity.
He has treated thousands of patients in Norfolk, England during his 25 years as a consultant physician at the James Paget Hospital.
Now he is to face an entirely different challenge. Today he is flying to the mountainous country of Nepal with his local charity, Nepal in Need, and a team of medics to set up a tented hospital.
Eleven experts are to set up the temporary hospital in the district of Sankhuwasaba, and in a week they hope to treat more than 1,000 patients.
David is a consultant physician whose specialty is respiratory medicine. He trained in Edinburgh and Newcatle upon Tyne then worked as a consultant at the James Paget Hospital in Great Yarmouth for 25 years. He is now retired. Since then he has done occasional work at the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital and in Inverness but now has time to focus on helping to improve health care in Nepal. He has visited the health centre in Yaphu and is working on improving the diagnostic facilities.
The region has a population of 150,000 but is served by only two doctors. If people fall seriously ill and cannot walk to a health centre, death is probable. My dad is expecting people to flock to the hospital from across the region.
“We expect people to walk up to three days to get to our health camp,” he said. “We won’t turn anyone away.”
To get to the region his team must take a twin-engine plane to a remote air strip an hour from the capital of Kathmandu. It is a further two days’ journey by off-road vehicle to the nearest town, and then a day’s walk to where they are setting up camp.
Dad first carried out aid work in Nepal in 2010, and says the change is noticeable already.
“We have made a difference,” he said. “The health posts we’ve set up have made a real improvement to local people’s access to health care provision.”
On dad’s first trip to Nepal he was very touched when he met 13-year-old Ejina, who could not walk due to a severely fractured leg caused by a congenital bone abnormality. Her left shin was folded at nearly a right angle. He decided to personally pay for her to fly to the Katmandu where she had surgery.
When he returned in 2011 she was able to walk unaided, and her leg is held together by a metal pin.
Nepal in Need provides primary health care in remote villages, buys school textbooks, installs clean water supplies and purchases solar power systems.
The current project is being funded by a £5,700 grant from London-based The Funding Network. It will pay for a consultant gynaecologist, radiologist, X Ray technician, lab assistant, GP, staff nurse, two health care assistants, record keeper, medical equipment and costs of setting up the hospital.
For information about Nepal In Need or to donate, see nepalinneed.org