Even your creased, well-thumbed copy of Where There is No Doctor is no substitute for receiving attention from a compassionate and well-trained health care provider. In a recent piece on the Huffington Post’s Global Motherhood Blog, anthropologist Elisabeth Enslin describes how she used Where There Is No Doctor to advise her neighbors, who were reluctant to go to clinics after “they’d had their concerns dismissed, been sold expensive medicines or exams with dubious benefits, been chastised, misdiagnosed, misunderstood, inconvenienced, lost work time waiting for all-too-brief exams, been looked down on for their skin color, ethnic status, poverty, and/or gender.” Although she found that Where There is No Doctor provided “practical and thoughtful” solutions to many problems, she longed to be able to refer her Nepali advice-seekers to health services that would treat them with the respect and care they deserved.
And then she found the Rural Health Education Service Trust (RHEST). For over twenty years, RHEST has been Nepal’s outstanding resource for women’s health information and services, operating mobile reproductive health clinics in remote areas, providing funds for surgeries, and training health care workers to train, treat, and prevent women’s health problems. The organization is working to increase awareness about the prevention and treatment of obstetric fistula and uterine prolapse, two common ailments in rural Nepal often left undiagnosed and undiscussed.
RHEST, and its founder Dr. Aruna Uprety, are longtime Hesperian partners. Most recently, Aruna collaborated with Hesperian in the writing of Health Actions for Women, which will be released on February 1st. RHEST also field-tested several chapters of the book, providing valuable insights about how to improve it, making it more useful to community health workers and educators working to cultivate women’s health and organize to address causes of poor health for women and girls in their communities. Dr. Uprety, and her team of Nepali translators, doctors, midwives, and community-based groups, produced Nepali editions of A Book for Midwives, Where Women Have No Doctor, and A Health Handbook for Women With Disabilities, all of which are also available from Hesperian.
We learn so much from partners like RHEST, and appreciate the work they do to promote health and justice around the world. Such partnerships help us in our goal of developing the most informative and accessible health resources in the world. RHEST, and other organizations like them, are the reason our books are translated into 95 languages. And we can’t sing their praises enough!