”It was fascinating to observe the functioning of an international research organization, particularly the communal atmosphere during lunch breaks, where everyone washed their own plates.”
As part of my study in Intercalated BSc study in International Health at the University of Leeds in the UK, I visited Nepal on January 2023 for research works. The focus of my research was to develop and pilot qualitative data collection tools to examine antibiotic dispensing practices among pharmacists and veterinarians in Kapilvastu, Nepal. This project aligned with the ongoing Community Solutions to Antimicrobial Resistance (COSTAR) project of HERD International.
After conducting a literature review on antimicrobial dispensing in Thailand, I sought to explore the issue in a different region. With the guidance of my supervisor, I decided to visit Nepal. Following extensive email exchanges and virtual meetings, I finalized my research proposal and made preparations for my journey.
It wasn’t until a week before departing that I fully grasped the realities of traveling over 4,500 miles from home. To my surprise, my fellow student Mia and I realized that we wouldn’t have a view of Mount Everest from the Kathmandu Valley. However, upon arrival, we were immediately captivated by the country’s beauty, diversity, and vibrant atmosphere, which couldn’t have been fully conveyed through research alone. We quickly understood why our friends and family had praised the friendliness of the Nepali people. We had no trouble navigating the logistics of getting a SIM card, Nepali rupees, and transportation. On our first day, we had a meeting with the COSTAR researchers at the HERDi offices. The following day, we embarked on a memorable and scenic coach journey from Kathmandu to Pokhara. We marveled at the mountains, green valleys, rivers, and towns adorned with buildings in various colors. Along the way, we stopped at roadside cafes, indulging in buffet-style food and enjoying plates of noodles by a river surrounded by lush forests. After spending a week in Pokhara working on Mia’s research project, we returned to Kathmandu, better prepared for the bustling city.
Over the subsequent week, I commuted daily to the HERDi offices, collaborating closely with the team, translators, and researchers. Before concluding our visit, HERDi gave us an opportunity to share our experiences in the Knowledge Café, a knowledge-sharing series organized periodically by HERDi International. It was fascinating to observe the functioning of an international research organization, particularly the communal atmosphere during lunch breaks, where everyone washed their own plates.
While analysis of the transcripts is still ongoing, initial findings indicate inappropriate dispensing of antimicrobials by both pharmacists and veterinarians. However, veterinarians demonstrated more willingness to openly discuss their practices compared to pharmacists. Before our departure from Kathmandu, we visited Patan Durbar Square. As we sat down, enjoying a cold bottle of Coke, we reflected upon our time in Nepal. The country’s natural beauty and the warmth of its people left an indelible impression on us. I would consider myself fortunate to have the opportunity to return.