Dilu Dhami, a 46-year-old farmer, was working in a field near his home in Dueursen, Nepal when a bear attacked him. The bear charged and swiped at him, causing a deep gash across his face. “There was a lump of flesh dangling from my face,” he said. Dilu’s injuries were not disabling and he was able to travel with his family to the hospital to receive emergency care. They left for the hospital on foot, but were eventually picked up by a friendly driver. Dilu and his family first arrived at Nepalganj hospital, but they did not have the capacity to treat him. He was then referred to Bayalpata Hospital, supported by the NGO Possible Health where he received pain killers and his wounds were stitched. Dilu is now back to work, but is cautious about the wooded areas near his fields and will often take care of chores around the house instead.
What Dilu’s Story Teaches Us
After two months of recovery at his sister’s home, Dilu returned to work the day he returned to his home in Deursen. Three years later, he has fully healed and has no complications related to his injury. He mentioned, “If I was severely wounded and never got well, it would be a sad situation for my family and myself. We are already struggling and there would be one less person earning for the family.”
Families in rural poverty settings often rely on being able to keep up with demanding work such as farming and in the case of Dilu, his wife and himself worked tirelessly to keep their children in school. “My kids are in school; it would have been harsh on them but my wife would suffer the most. I am glad I am alright now and can do the everyday chores like I used to,” says Dilu.
As Dilu has aptly said, “no one can tell the future.” Accidents and injuries can occur to anyone at any stage of life, and access to comprehensive emergency care in rural poverty settings is often difficult due to the remote location and treacherous terrain. Luckily, Dilu had his family by his side and could travel to the hospital.
“Because I am well now I can do a lot of work to support my family. However, if I wasn’t able to work, I would just have to sit idle and would end up being a burden to everyone.” Dilu is fortunate that his injury did not disable him to the point that he could not work to support his family. However, this is not the case for all injuries. A disabling injury for someone living in rural poverty often creates new challenges for the family, and increased out-of-pocket costs associated with treatment of the injury can create a financial burden that perpetuates the cycle of poverty.