Laurieton fundraiser to help Port Macquarie gynaecologist Ray Hodgson's Nepal cause

HARSH CONDITIONS: Ray and his team operating under torch light with no power.
HARSH CONDITIONS: Ray and his team operating under torch light with no power.

Funding, building, and equipping a hospital in rural Nepal sounds like a bold idea but one Port Macquarie gynaecologist Ray Hodgson and his team believe they can achieve.

For almost ten years Dr Ray - as he is know by all - has travelled to and from Nepal with a team of volunteers in the hope that they can make some impact on the lives of impoverish women.

In 2010 he founded the charity organisation Australians for Women's Health (A4WH).

The objective of A4WH is to improve the appalling state of women's health in Nepal and their current focus is the construction of a Mothers and Babies Hospital in East Nepal.

LESS THAN IDEAL: The operating room in rural Nepal Ray and his team currently use.

LESS THAN IDEAL: The operating room in rural Nepal Ray and his team currently use.

The Rotary Club of Laurieton is hosting a fundraiser dinner for Dr Hodgson to help fund the construction of the hospital. The event is in partnership with A4WH, the Rotary Club of Port Macquarie and Rotary International. 

The fundraiser is on March 30 at the Laurieton United Services Club. It is open to the community and people from Sydney to Coffs Harbour are expected to attend.

Dr Hodgson said the group needs $500,000 to construct the hospital building and a further $300,000 to fit it out with equipment. 

"So far Australians 4 Women's Health has managed to raise $302,000 for the construction, all through donations," he said. 

"The great thing about all the money we have collected is around 99 percent of all of the donations have been $50 or less, coming from people who are donating as much as they can.

"The Rotary Club of Port Macquarie have also set up a Rotary Australia World Community Service (RAWCS) project and have raised more than $60,000 towards the construction as well."

Further to this, Rotarians from all over NSW, Australia, the United States and Iceland have come together with the Rotary Foundation and have pledged all of the $300,000 to equip the hospital once it's constructed.

"This is an amazing achievement and the support we have received from around the world has been incredible," Dr Hodgson said.

"We have been training local Nepalese staff for a few years now. We have all the local hospital staff we need right now; from doctors, nurses, midwives to imaging technicians, pathologists, cleaners and administrative staff.

"At the moment we just don't have a building to put them in."

MOCK UP: This is an impression of what the hospital will look like.

MOCK UP: This is an impression of what the hospital will look like.

Dr Hodgson said teaching will also be a major focus of the hospital to engage with the local people and ensure it is a hospital they will go to.

"The plans have been drawn up. It's earthquake resistant,there will be 35 beds, a modern labour ward and neonatal ward and a first world operating theatre," he said.

"We'll be using local builders and as much as possible, local materials for the construction.

"The whole top floor of the building will be devoted to teaching local medical students, doctors, nurses and midwives.

"Our teams from Australia will continue to visit the hospital regularly to provide mentoring and teaching of more advanced procedures."

The community is invited to the dinner and listen to Dr Hodgson speak about his first hand experience working in Nepal, to find out how necessary the hospital is.

At the dinner there will be a number of raffle and auction prizes as well as the opportunity to purchase Ray's book heartbreak in the Himalayas. All proceeds from the book also go towards helping to fund the construction of the hospital.

To purchase tickets to the dinner on March 30 contact the Laurieton United Services Club on 02 6559 9110. Ticket sales close on March 27.

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