Dr Graeme and his Nepali wife Meena came to Lalgadh in 2007 to help consolidate the medical services, and develop future services. Graeme was born in Australia but has worked in Nepal and Switzerland, and has homes in England and Switzerland.
Graeme worked in the WHO for many years, based in Switzerland, and so brings a new perspective to Lalgadh, as well as mostly irrepressible good humour, coffee, and an unusual taste in woodwind instruments.
Graeme has worked hard to improve medical standards at Lalgadh and has assisted in hands-on diagnosis and surgery on many occasions. Meena is a trained nurse and has assisted the development of the nursing team.
2011 finds Graeme and Meena still working at Lalgadh as they help establish expanded medical facilities that enable a slightly wider range of better quality medical services to be available. They have some wonderful friends in Switzerland and have been instrumental in raising significant funds towards the expansion at Lalgadh.
2016 and Graeme and Meena are well and still supporting the work at Lalgadh. Graeme has supported the further expansion of the in-patient services with a new general patient ward, a maternity and diagnostic unit, and a new children’s ward. Lalgadh is developing new services to utilize this capacity, and thereby generate more revenue to support the leprosy work. Graeme and Meena were also heavily involved in raising funds from their connections, for the earthquake relief work in 2015 and 2016, and we were able to take relief supplies to remote villages that have suffered acutely due to the damage caused to property by the earthquake in April 2015. NLT distributed about 300 tonnes of relief supplies to needy families and communities.
In 2016, Graeme was made an ‘Officer of the Order of Australia’ and presented with a medal in recognition of his service to medicine and to the international community of Nepal.
In 2017, the outpatient services were expanded with the assistance of US Aid via an American Leprosy Missions proposal developed by Dr Hugh Cross, one of the pioneers of the work at Lalgadh during the 1990s. Dr Graeme as Medical Director, had to direct the staff in settling into the new facilities and developing the new disciplines that arose through this expansion, including a new prosthetics department.
In 2018, Dr Graeme was able to open the new children’s ward that his fundraising enabled. This gave a nicer
environment for the children who sometimes need inpatient care at Lalgadh, particularly those who have regular struggles with impairment, ulceration, and reactions, such as Payan, Neelam, Santosh, Vibya and others. It has been decorated in a child-friendly way.
Despite some serious visa difficulties during 2019, Graeme has been able to continue into 2020 and 2021, and has assisted the medical team through the COVID crisis. Lalgadh has had a hard time of it through the pandemic, but has not had to face the issues that key hospitals in Kathmandu and elsewhere have faced with no capacity for further admissions of Covid patients and no oxygen etc. Lalgadh does not have ventilators or significant supplies of oxygen, and also has inpatients with very compromised immune systems due to leprosy, so it is not providing direct patient support for people with respiratory problems caused by Covid-19. The second wave of Covid-19 through April and May of 2021 brought further hardship to the area around Lalgadh and elsewhere, but we are grateful that Graeme and Meena and the staff at Lalgadh have come through safely so far, by God’s grace. It has been a difficult time for Graeme and Meena as they have not been able to get away from Lalgadh to visit family or friends at home, but we all hope that things will improve soon.
Do please pray for Graeme and Meena.