The day everyone has been waiting for finally arrived on Tuesday 3rd November 2015.

Ann Dingle reports from the Ear Hospital Dedication and Inauguration Ceremony:

It has taken years of dedicated fundraising and many months of hard work, but on Tuesday morning the sun was shining for the opening of the Ear Hospital and Training Centre on the Green pastures compound in Pokhara.

A significant number of dignitaries arrived as well as past and present INF members and visiting well-wishers. They were entertained to speeches from all of the key contributors and dancing from Nepali children. A multi-coloured bougainvillea was ceremonially planted above the inscribed dedication plaques to mark the opening.

The building looks magnificent and solidly built to last. The attention to detail and craftsmanship is evident and both externally and internally it is a fine building (
pictures) that has the potential to deliver the highest quality of care for many years to come.

Sadly the container of medical equipment for furbishing the hospital remains in Calcutta, it’s final leg of the journey prevented by the border closure. The non-medical furnishings have been sourced by many trips to the bazaar or built by local craftsmen and the final result is spacious well-equipped rooms.

A large UK and Swiss team arrived for the opening of the hospital and to run the planned autumn camp from the new building. The current border closure resulting from a disagreement relating to the Nepali constitution has caused significant fuel shortages. Road travel has become very difficult -
vehicles queue for days for fuel - and people are not willing to travel because of expense and risk of not getting in home for Tihar, the festival at the end of next week. In addition there is no longer cooking fuel available and cooking by wood fire adds to the daily burden of the Nepali family. As a result whilst we are seeing a steady trickle of patients attending the hospital, we are not yet seeing the numbers that we would usually see on a traditional camp. We anticipate that this will increase as the reputation of the hospital grows.

Surgery in the new operating theatre has commenced. The facilities are luxurious compared to the normal environment of camps and the surgical staff are having to get used to the comfortable surroundings. The sound proofed rooms that the audiology department have allows for significantly more accurate testing, even before the arrival of the formal testing booths that are in the container in Calcutta.

There are dedicated rooms for out patient consultation, syringing of ears and pre-operative hair shaves - the usual noise is remarkably reduced.

The three well appointed wards have already been used for males, females and children and there are private rooms for future paying patients.

The opening camp will run until next week and the hospital will then continue to see and operate on patients. There are still a multitude of operational issues that will need considering as the work gets underway, and we hope that the presence of the large team will serve to identify and solve some of these issues for Mike for the months ahead.

You can see a photo album of the day's events
here, a photo tour of the hospital here and learn how the Ear Hospital was built in 60 seconds here!

05 Honored guests

Honoured Guests
INF chairman: RC Timothy
Regional Administrator: Kedar Bahadur Adhikari
Regional Health Director: Dr Taranath Paudel
Former INF director: Dr Deependra Gautam
INF Nepal Director: Dr Prem Subedi
INFs International Director: Chris Drew

08 Tree planting ceremony

Tree planting ceremony
Former INF director: Dr Deependra Goutam
INF chairman: RC Timothy
Regional Health Director: Dr Taranath Paudel
INF Nepal Director: Dr Prem Subedi
SON: Dr Lukas Eberle
Ear Hospital Manager: Eka Dev Devkota
EAN Chairman and Hospital Director: Dr Mike Smith
SON: Peter Linggi

21 SON Team

SON: Peter Linggi
SON: Dr Lukas Eberle
SON: Christina Furrer

22 SON team

Donor Victorinox: Silvia Brander
Ear Hospital Manager: Eka Dev Devkota
SON: Dr Lukas Eberle
SON: Peter Linggi
SON: Christina Furrer

03 Honored guests

Regional Health Director: Dr Taranath Paudel
SON: Peter Linggi
SON: Dr Lukas Eberle
Regional Administrator: Kedar Bahadur Adhikari
Former INF director: Dr Deependra Goutam
INF chairman: RC Timothy
INF Nepal Director: Dr Prem Subedi
INFs International Director: Chris Drew
EAN Chairman and Hospital Director: Dr Mike Smith
Hearing Project Nepal: Mr David Hine



From the front line ...

I have bought a few items for the hospital - bedding, towels, buckets and brushes! We have made sticky labels with the Ear Aid Nepal logo and are fixing these onto items Ear Aid Nepal will have paid for. We are also embroidering the logo onto the bedding. The idea was to show some visibility for EAN’s contribution. We have done the same for Swiss SON items, which is almost all the furniture.


I have had contact with the ‘Carestream' rep in Kathmandu, Tom arranged this, he is supplying me with information about a small CT scanner for the ear and other ENT problems. It seems it may be possible to get one here from them, which would be fantastic. We do not have costs yet, but it seems achievable.

We are very busily preparing for all the team arriving on Sunday and the camp and first use of the hospital on Monday. Although it is a great shame that the container is not here yet, we still have a place to be very pleased with.

We get lots of phone calls asking when we will open. I really hope that patients can get here OK, the country is in shut down.

Click above to watch the video of just one of the many motorbike queues!

There are huge queues for the tiny amount of fuel that gets in and there is no cooking gas. Food outlets are almost all using fire wood.


Roads are very quiet. There may be some fuel coming in from China soon as the Indian border is virtually closed and the government has just signed an agreement. Black market is getting some in, but vehicles have burned due to people smuggling containers of fuel! Police are stopping any buses, motorbikes etc and confiscating any fuel containers.

w engraving-one-od-the-plaques-for-the-donor-memorial-on-black-granite
Engraving one of the plaques for the donor memorial on black granite

Lots of things to talk to team about and big day on Tuesday with local bigwigs coming to opening and lots of speeches no doubt. Dreading that! We tried getting ambassadors etc here but the British one is new and only gives his credentials next week, plus they do not want to travel during the fuel crisis.

All for now,



Outside Waiting Area

With only days to go here are some pictures of the new hospital sent in by Peder Ericsson.

All that's left now is fitting out, doctors, nurses, volunteers, administrators ... and patients!

Click this link for a detailed look around.


Fiona and I have been back in Nepal for just over 5 weeks.

After cultural and language revision and update sessions in Kathmandu we moved to Pokhara. In monsoon times (June till beginning of October) it can be hot and very humid, this year is no exception. Our rented first floor flat is simple but adequate, at first we found it difficult as there are long power-cuts every day. We have had a back-up battery system and an extra fan installed. We had no hot water during most of this time, but we now have a gas cylinder on the veranda, with a pipe through the window and a small geyser heater for the bathroom shower. All the taps leak and we are still waiting for the plumber, who is ‘away somewhere’.

We battled with a lot of cockroaches to start with, as the flat has been unoccupied for a long time; we have learnt about several kinds of poison and are trying them all!

We spend 2-3 hours each day in language class. Although we both speak Nepali there is always plenty of room for improvement and while we have the chance we want to take it. We have also needed to buy some furniture as we only had some basics to start with. We had no curtains and our windows open directly up against our neighbours so that has been interesting. We spent time measuring and ordering some yesterday. At first we felt very cut-off without Internet, but once we got phone SIMMs, fought the computers to input ingoing and outgoing mail codes and a bought a dongle package, that has been better. Soon we will get what we hope is a better and faster connecting system.

The ear hospital building is coming on extremely well, although there have been delays, especially due to the earthquakes and also due to some supply problems, it should be complete within the next 2 weeks. There will no doubt be plenty of minor issues to resolve over the following weeks but we do now have a timetable for that. I spent this morning in meetings with the management team and engineers discussing the project and innumerable details. There are still some things outside the actual building contract, such as the solar electric cells and battery backup system and generator to be purchased and fitted.

We had very good news today when the municipality signed off the building completion certificate. There had been a lot of paperwork and some red tape matters that could have held this up considerably.

We are awaiting news of the shipping container of medical equipment that has now been dispatched from the UK. There is also a lot of paperwork being processed for this essential material, without which the hospital could not open effectively. It will come by sea to Calcutta then by land to Nepal, via the border at Birganj. That place is currently obstructed by vehicles delayed by strikes, these are occurring because of dissatisfaction with the new boundaries that the government is trying to set for different regions of the country. There are a lot of political and ethnic issues affecting how these lines are drawn. Nepal seeks to form a new federation of about 6 or 7 regions, which differ considerably from the current 5 regions. We hope very much that the container will reach us within the next two months.

We are working now on many internal issues such as staffing, IT, induction training, furniture and fittings.

The ear hospital and training centre sits on land donated by INF. The new INF ‘clinical cluster manager’ Dhaka Ram Magar has many new ideas about the development of the whole site, including the current Green Pastures leprosy and spinal injuries projects and the associated disability rehabilitation work. The ear work will fall within this. The overall plan is exciting but represents considerable challenges and will take many years to develop. The ideas include a full general hospital with nurse and doctor training. Some of these ideas will directly impact the ear hospital, as we are likely to share some staff and facilities. Central to the plans are income generation and sustainability. These changes represent a considerable departure for INF from its medical work in recent years, which has largely been community based. It is fair to say that the ear hospital has led the way in this development, even though not yet open! The desire for a first rate caring and ethical service that is self-sustaining and seeks to serve the least advantaged, as much as those with the ability to pay, is a single thread through all this.

We have a number of volunteers coming out over the coming months, especially at the time of our official opening in first week of November. At that time we will run an ‘ear camp’ here in Pokhara We are learning to call these events “Ear Outreach Services’, for technical reasons in country. The Swiss donors, SON, who have so wonderfully raised so much for the building itself, will be here. We will inaugurate name plaques and a foundation stone to honour the large and small partners including Ear Aid Nepal. We are committed to supporting the Ear Hospital and Training Centre with contacts, funds and technical expertise.

Thanks so much to all of you who have contributed in so many ways to this work; which we hope will provide a fantastic service for people affected by ear problems here in Nepal.


FIONA and MIKE ...


Fiona and Mike are now in Kathmandu. They are busy with language study and orientation and as they both speak Nepali that will not be hard work for them. They are due to move to Pokhara in a few days time on 15 August 2015 when they will be house-hunting, checking up on colleagues and doing a host of other mundane but necessary jobs.

One of the best things that happened to Nepal was when Mike and Fiona were Called to work there. That was in the 80s when Mike came as a medical officer to the leprosy hospital. He didn't know anything about tendon transplants but he pulled the books out and studied hard and this resulted in many very happy patients. So much so that when Mike and Fiona decided to return to the UK, the patients only wanted their operation done by Dr Mike "because he has the hand of God".

Fiona was a great back up for Mike and without Fiona, his divinely-chosen wife, there would have been no Mike. She never complained (to Mike's colleagues anyway!!) about his long hours in the hospital. Their compassionate hearts for the Nepali people was very obvious and drew Nepalis to them.

For Mike, the truest of believers, his vision for the creation of an ENT department in the government hospital and the needs of patients in the remote areas of Nepal, could only have been divinely inspired. And so the ear camps came about. Some years later, despairing that the needs of ear patients could not be dealt with in the camps, Mike had a dream in which a young Nepali boy appeared and asked "Who will help us now?". This was not a question for Mike but a command that set him on the road to build a hospital. He did not know from where the funds would come but he believed that “the Lord will provide”. And He did! In a few weeks time the Ear Hospital and Training Centre will open it’s doors offering treatment for the needy and training for the doctors.

Mike and Fiona's main concern is to help and through this share the love of God. Mike, as the surgeon, has never been out to "make a name for himself" - he wants to show the compassion of Christ by relieving the suffering of the people. Mike and Fiona truly are people who "act justly, show mercy and walk humbly with their God".

We wish them well.

The Trustees


Unfortunately the webcam link is still down but Eka Dev has just sent through these great pictures showing what tremendous progress has been made!!

Not long now ...









Listen to Mike Smith on Hereford Radio describing the earthquake's aftermath.


Dear All,

Namaste and greetings.

Recently, we visited different VDC of Gorkha, Dhading, Makwanpur, Tanahu, Myagdi, Baglung and Parwat districts (you can download the
full report here). People are slowly getting back to their normal life. Since relief aid is getting late to reach in remote villages so people rebuilding their shelters with whatever materials left with them. The Villagers saying that this time everybody sending tarpaulin for temporary shelters but that is not working properly and not durable in this weather since monsoon is approaching and evenings is windy and stormy in some hilly region. So, I think is best option is to buy roofing materials such as zinc roofing sheets. The roofing sheets for a house costs nearly US$ 200-300 including nails, and the materials is easily available locally. I have also attached the latest update data for different district.

Eka Dev Devkota
Camps Co-ordinator

Population (Census 2011)



Affected HH


Affected population


Partially damaged houses



Totally Damaged Houses










Schools intact



719 (room)

Schools destroyed



1495 (room)



Health Centres intact

Health Centres damaged


Health Centres destroyed


From Mike Smith ...

I have had several mails and documents about the INF and camps team coordinated response to the emergency, they are doing a great job as best they can in terrible situation.


The Swiss Press carried the following reports (click images to read) from EarAidNepal volunteers Mercedes and Hans Ogal:




Tom Martin reports on the scene in Kathmandu after the earthquake ...

I arrived in Kathmandu last night (Tuesday 28 April 2015) after an extremely productive ear camp in Rolpa District with over 1,100 patients treated. We had been in Pokhara at the time of the earthquake inspecting the Ear Hospital which is close to completion and truly inspiring.

The earthquake struck as we left the building site: while prolonged (the movement seemed to last for about a minute) the movement was not too extreme in Pokhara and fortunately the city largely escaped the damage done in Gorkha, Kathmandu and rural regions such as Langtang.

I had arranged a short kayaking trip before flying back to the UK and took a bus from Chitwan (southwest of Kathmandu on the Indian border) to the capital last night. The journey was interrupted by a significant landslide and we had to wait 2 hours for a bulldozer to arrive to clear the road. Impressively, this clearance has been done in a very timely way. Talking to others at the hotel, landslides have been causing traffic disruption throughout the country and in many cases travellers have had to abandon their vehicles and walk.

We arrived in Kathmandu in the early evening to find a very dark city with only emergency generator lighting and large numbers of people leaving city to stay with relatives in less affected areas. The main tourist area, Thamel, is very quiet with many guesthouses, shops and cafes closed. In our guest house the majority of the staff have left the city and a dedicated skeleton staff are providing simple meals of bread and 'super noodles'. A large number of homeless tourists are sleeping on the floor of reception.

In the city there are numerous collapsed buildings with rooms exposed to the elements and rubble strewn across the street. Many areas with the most damage (including the historic Durbhar Square) are sealed off while workers search through the rubble. In open spaces such as the Maidan, temporary accommodation tent villages have been established for those displaced.

We visited both the British Embassy and Bir Hospital (the main trauma centre) to see whether we could offer any assistance. I participated in some triage but the majority of the survivors were brought in to the hospital two or three days ago. A large number of foreign tourists had offered their support and there was no shortage of volunteers. In addition, we saw a number of foreign emergency teams in the city tending to injured Nepalis.

I am due to leave the city tomorrow morning and understand that international flights are operating, although there are some delays and cancellations.

This has been an extremely distressing end to a very rewarding and positive visit to Nepal. Our thoughts are with those for who this disaster will have repercussions for many years to come.


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An earthquake with magnitude 7.8 occurred near Lamjung, Nepal at 06:11:26 UTC on Apr 25, 2015
BBC News / / World News Reports

From Mercedes Ogal 27 April 2015

Our thoughts are with the INF team which is on its way to the epicentre in Gorkha, Nepal. God bless them. All of them worked so very hard at the surgical and ear camp and they are in a need of a rest. Some have ill family members. But they just repacked the jeeps and filled them up with things needed and are now they on their way to Gorka. We will pray for them.

UPDATE from Mike Smith 16:26 BST 26 April 2015

I am at Summit Hotel now. It is raining and cold but many people are sleeping outside. Very crowded, they have put awnings and tents up. Some water now. They just made buffet curry for everyone. I came by road from Pokhara. Most of road is good. Some small landslides and large rocks on road in several places. Kathmandu roads fairly quiet and eery. All along road from Pokhara and here many people standing silently by roadsides outside buildings especially after the mid morning large aftershock today. On Kathmandu ring road and periphery there are some older brick or stone buildings collapsed or walls fallen but most houses look ok, especially the concrete ones. Everyone anxious in case of more shocks. INF are assembling team to go to Gorkha tomorrow morning, they think Gorkha bazaar is ok but higher up villages bad, it is the camps team, just back from the ear and surgical camp. I am sharing a room with s guy called Nick who was at Everest Base Camp when a huge avalanche hit. He has broken ribs, he came out by helicopter. He said that when the quake hit a wall of snow came down and across and wiped out all their camp and threw them all across the rocks. Some serious and even fatal injuries.

UPDATE from Mercedes Ogal 01:46 BST 26 April 2015

Yes, the team from the U.K. (Ian, Serge, Rachel, Carol, Eileen, Allan) left Kathmandu before the Earthquake. Hans and I got into the earthquake on our way to the airport in the Taxi. It was scary. 
After waiting six hours in front of the airport we got the information that they had closed the airport for the rest of the day and our flight was cancelled. Back in the Summit Hotel we met John and Pia who tried to figure out wether they should leave for the airport or not. All four of us slept outside last night because of the heavy after-shocks. It was safer. Electricity is now back at the Summit but not the water. 
We hope that we will get a flight today.

All the best to you all!!
Yours Mercedes, Hans, Pia and John

Text Message from Mike Smith immediately after the devastating earthquake:

"Tom Martin, Adrian Rootes and I all OK in Pokhara. We were outside when ground started shaking hard for some time, then mild. Some injured. Then again an hour later. Everyone ran out of buildings. We think the rest of the team in Kathmandu left by flight shortly before shocks. Heard from John Young that his sister Anna was at Summit Hotel, ground moving a metre to and fro and a big wave came out of the pool. Airport closed in Kathmandu but may have reopened. Bad damage in Kathmandu we hear but you may have more news in UK as phones not working well, all busy. I am due to fly to Kathmandu (from Pokhara) tomorrow if possible."

Rolpa Ear Camp underway …


Reports just in say that the 12 strong team have arrived in a wet Kathmandu with high spirits and full stomachs ready to fly out to Butwal ( about 260km from Katmandu) and keen to get to started!!

We look forward to more reports soon!

19 April 2015 - Claire Ferrer reports:

Mercedes Ogal in action!

Camp is going well - we've seen 850 patients so far, 1,147 registered and 66 operations and about 90 hearing aids fitted. Just completed 3 1/2 days. The weather has been mixed with some hail and thunderstorms but camp is going well. We've a lovely video of a lady dancing when she had her hearing aid fitted: she was so happy today. Lots of patients who have walked several days or travelled several hours by vehicle and several successful post op reviews on patients from previous camps.

Best wishes from all the team

21 April 2015 - Serge Pal reporting ...

Last day of operating to go - 14 ear operations left today. Yesterday resorted to having Dhaal Bhat in theatres with Mike closing play at 00:30! Hopefully will manage to get everything done today.


Jumla Ear Camp Report …

A large multinational group flew into Jumla two days after arriving in Kathmandu. It was rewarding to make such quick progress across Nepal as such remote areas are not always as accessible. Jumla sits in a wide open valley with fabulous views of the snow-capped Himalayas. The landing strip was thankfully flat! At 2500 metres Jumla is a moderate sized district centre with a population of 110, 000. It has a well-appointed hospital with a range of general medical specialties as well as a lab, an X Ray room and a base for training of medical technicians. We were given the use of a number of rooms and the INF team who had driven for several days with the equipment had already set up a spacious ear clinic ready for our use. The operating theatre was in a newly built operating room with plenty of space for our three operating tables and was clean and airy - and it was to transpire - very cold!

Our accommodation was a short walk through the town and when we arrived the following morning there were patients already waiting for us. It was not long before we had patients already being lined up for surgery. By the afternoon we were operating and it became clear that we were going to need to find a source of heating, not only for our benefit as it is difficult to operate when shivering, but also for that of the patients who would be lying on a table for a number of hours. A gas fire meant that the operating theatre became the place to congregate at the end of the day, and patients would be found not only on the operating tables, but on the floor in-front of the fire as they recovered from their sedation. The audiology rooms, being at the north facing side of the hospital suffered with the same temperature issues, and the audiologists had to undertake their hearing aid fittings outside in the sun as it was the only way they could make the material used for impressions set.

We saw 1405 outpatients in the 9 days of camp, undertook 130 procedures and fitted over 100 hearing aids. As always, middle ear disease was very prevalent and the majority of the patients came with discharging ears and deafness. A greater number of patients than usual failed to turn up for their surgery, and we wondered if waiting in the cold was putting people off. However we were always able to fill the places on the day and operated until late on the evening on most days. The hospital had made a room of 6 beds available to the patients and this was helpful for those that we had their surgery late in the day who would be able to sleep off their sedation rather than having to be carried through the cold night to their lodgings.

The INF team at Surkhet had made us aware of a baby that had been born with deformed ears and no ear canals. This meant she would have a significant hearing loss and little chance of developing speech without help. They had travelled for 4 days to Jumla and we were delighted when a specially donated hearing aid from Oticon clearly gave her some hearing. This is vital whilst her speech is developing and when she is older we hope to be able to fit her with a more permanent bone implanted aid.
We treated a patient with long-standing mastoid disease who had lost the majority of his hearing at the age of 7 and so had had to stop school. Whilst we do not hold much hope for improving his hearing, we were at least able to stop one of his ears discharging.
To ensure that there is ongoing support for people with hearing aids, the audiology team trained the medical technicians at the INF clinic in Jumla in the basic maintenance of aids. This is an important step forward and in the longer term we hope to be able to support the training of an audiological technician to provide a more extensive service to the population.
We were sad that some patients refused surgery, some are too young and some arrive too late when all the operating time has been occupied. These patients are treated with antibiotics and advice and we hope that for some, this will lead to at least a temporary resolution of their infection. What however is clear is that there is a need for another camp in Jumla in the very near future.

baby, 5:12, born with no ear canals
Baby, 5/12, born with no ear canals

Bone aid on softband for the babyay
Bone aid on softband for the babyay

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