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This article appeared in Dhanvantari, medical column in Nepali Times Issue #561 authored by Dr. Buddha Basnyat, MD and is published here with his special permission. I found the article inspirational and this is the second piece that appears in my blog which is not authored by me. Subodh

When the friendly 22-year-old American Nick Simons arrived in Kathmandu in 2002 he worked for an NGO in the hydropower sector. In March 2003 he returned home to New York and told his parents, Jim and Marilyn Simons, how he had grown to love Nepal sharing with them his dream to study medicine. Before starting his mandatory premedical course in the autumn of 2003, he decided to travel to Bali where he tragically drowned while swimming.

Nick Simons
In 2006, Jim and Marilyn set up the Nick Simons Institute in Kathmandu in memory of their son to provide quality health care to people in rural Nepal. In its first five years, NSI has had a remarkable impact on training and supporting health facilities in rural Nepal. Partnering with other hospitals and organisations, NSI has helped train and support over 1,000 health care workers and 90 per cent are still working in their rural locations.

NSI has realised the importance of working with government institutions so that the impact of the program (for example, training skilled birth attendants) is more effective and widespread. Much-needed refresher courses for health workers in rural areas has met with a great deal of enthusiasm by the participants which is bound to influence patient care.

A formal anesthesia assistant course for non-doctor anesthetist developed by NSI has been welcomed because in rural areas emergency surgery is often not conducted even in the presence of a surgeon because of lack of an anesthetist. Learning to administer anesthesia is a very "hands on", technical procedure that can be competently taught in one year in a step wise manner. Many rural patients will doubtless benefit from these skillful, nurse anesthetists.

Continued medical education for many doctors in Nepal consists of drug-company sponsored evenings where an expert gives a talk followed by dinner. For the first time in Nepal, NSI has created and disseminated Nepal's continuing medical education course (Volume 1) for doctors which is very relevant and popular. Volume 2 is "in press".

NSI, by taking this untrodden path to better health in rural Nepal, has fulfilled the wish of the young Nick Simons by providing competent care to Nepalis in their own communities. On Saturday, NSI moves to its own premises in Sanepa at a ceremony to be attended by President Ram Baran Yadav.


  1. Does NSI have a web site? Would be interesting to follow its work in Nepal.

    The work it is doing is so important. A 2010 report of the Safe Motherhood Network Federation Nepal cites that still only 19% of women here give birth tended to by a skilled birth attendant.

  2. Dear Readers, many times I link the article to corresponding website as facilitated by Blogspot. I have done so in this article. Just point to the title of the article and click and you will visit the site. How clever is that!

  3. Mr. Rana,

    So far I've found your posts amazing, informative, and intriguing, to say the least. However, when I got to this post, it made me wonder why you allowed this to appear on here since the post has nothing to do with history, and so, with due respect, it does not belong to your blogspot.

    I felt like I chewed on a rock while enjoying roasted ke-bab!

    a.malla, Calif, USA

  4. FYI - The Nick Simons Institute was fast tracked and approved during the "infamous" royal regime in 2005. The Patan Maternity hospital was built as a result of this and inaugurated by Prachanda as a result. Now NSI has it's own office premises - a grand affair. Negligible red tape was involved and now you can see the good results. Unfortunately NSI did not invite anyone from the erstwhile royal regime at it's official inauguration this year without which this institute may still have been held back not unlike the new Bir hospital wing, or may have had to under New Nepal,dish out much under the table money resulting in the philanthropist billionaire pulling out all together - which would have been unfortunate. Very unfortunate!


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