A Doctor’s Mission, Heard by Thousands of Children in Nepal

Primary ear care education is provided to all students and teachers during the week-long examination and evaluation. Children with basic ear problems are treated on campus and those requiring further treatment are referred to the Nidan hospital, located in the Lalitpur district. (Photo courtesy of Ear Care Nepal)

At an early age, when her grandfather died from a brain abscess that began as a minor ear infection, Dr. Milan Maharjan learned the shortcomings of a healthcare system that only the affluent can afford. That hard lesson only furthered her desire to pursue a career in medicine.

Knowing first-hand the potential severity of an ear problem left untreated, Dr. Milan has devoted herself to the prevention and treatment of hearing loss among children in Nepal.

In 2013, she established Ear Care Nepal, a nonprofit dedicated to serving children unable to receive essential health services, namely related to ear care.

Dr. Milan and her team carry out detailed examinations and audiological evaluations for children with suspected ear diseases. The aim of the program is to prevent and cure deafness among the school children in Nepal’s community schools. Over the past three years, Dr. Milan and her team have screened more than 30,000 children throughout Nepal’s Bhaktapur District, 300 of which have required surgical intervention.

Over 16 percent of the Nepalese population suffers from hearing disability with more than half of these cases occurring among children between the ages of five and fifteen, according to a study conducted in Nepal.

A hearing impairment can lead to communication challenges, delayed education growth, and social isolation, reiterating the importance of addressing basic ear problems at a young age.

Direct Relief began supporting Ear Care Nepal after the 2015 earthquake, providing the organization with funding for staff salaries, medical equipment and other expenses.

Nearly two years after the Nepal earthquake, access to healthcare remains challenging and limited. Damaged infrastructure, like roads and schools, still awaits reconstruction and makes screening programs particularly challenging for Ear Care Nepal staff, and children receiving ear care.

Direct Relief is committed to supporting the crucial work of Dr. Milan and Ear Care Nepal to screen even more children than before.

In addition to providing primary ear education to students and teachers, parents receive counseling about ear diseases and treatment options for their child’s ear health. (Photo courtesy of Ear Care Nepal)

In a recent interview, Dr. Milan reflected on her early years when family members emphasized the importance of giving in life. With unparalleled devotion to reaching and treating the unreached, Dr. Milan is undoubtedly fulfilling this sentiment of giving.