Mary Jane Cole, Physiotherapist and Senior Lecturer, School of Rehabilitation Sciences provides specialist support to earthquake victims in Nepal.

Mary Jane Cole in Nepal

Mary Jane Cole was deployed to Nepal in May, returning early June, as part of the UK Emergency Medical Team to support rehabilitation following the country’s two earthquakes in April and May 2015.

Mary Jane’s clinical expertise in amputee rehabilitation was instrumental in supporting the physiotherapists working in the hospitals in Kathmandu and in the local community treating survivors who had had amputations.

Recounting her experiences in Nepal , Mary Jane said, “While in Nepal I mostly worked alongside local physiotherapists treating patients who had had amputations as a result of the earthquake. We worked in the hospitals in Kathmandu dealing with earthquake survivors or in homes or temporary accommodation when the patient was discharged. This was a great opportunity to share my experience and do some ‘on the job’ teaching; I also gave some workshops on amputee rehabilitation. The therapists were all enthusiastic and very committed. In addition to this I worked with a certified Prosthetist and Orthotist and together we mapped the prosthetics and orthotics services available in the country, especially in the Kathmandu Valley, to identify current capacity and capability in relation to the numbers of ‘earthquake’ amputees and their anticipated prosthetic needs. A small working group was set up from which a care and referral pathway was developed to guide therapists, patients and their care-givers with the amputee and prosthetic rehabilitation process and information on available services. The group is continuing to develop this work and by all accounts amputees are being well prepared and supported in anticipation of receiving a prosthesis.”

Pete Skelton, Rehabilitation Project Manager at Handicap international said, “The UK Emergency Medical Team has played a key role in supporting a strong Nepalese response to the earthquake through providing surge capacity and specialist training. After two months, the last team is now on its way home, but by working with local partners like the Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre, and organisations with a longstanding presence in Nepal like Handicap International, they have had a lasting impact.”