KATHMANDU/GORKHA, Aug 7: Argentine football superstar Lionel Messi’s charity organization The Leo Messi Foundation, in association with UNICEF Nepal, has supported building 14 health posts in earthquake-affected districts of Nepal.
According to UNICEF Nepal, the Barcelona forward’s foundation has provided a fund of 500,000 USD in order to help building health facilities in eight earthquake-affected districts.
In association with UNICEF Nepal, the foundation is building health posts in Gorkha, Kavre, Lalitpur, Ramechhap, Dolakha and Solukhumbu districts.
Nine health posts have already been completed in those districts, while five are under construction, according to UNICEF Nepal that is building a total of 74 health posts in various parts of the country with support from various organizations apart from Messi Foundation.
The construction of three health posts with the support from Messi Foundation has been completed in Gorkha district with an investment of Rs 18 million. UNICEF Nepal has already handed over the buildings – built in Darbung, Fujel and Deurali villages – to the District Health Office.
The cost of each pre-fabricated building was Rs 6 million. The buildings are equipped with some equipment necessary for health care services, according to Nanibabu Dani, health assistant of the District Health Office. “There was a little delay to start the construction but still we have succeeded to finish the work on time and handover the buildings to local authorities in order to provide a relief to the locals who were compelled to receive treatment under sheds,” according to UNICEF officer Nitendra Chaurasiya. UNICEF Nepal, while signing an agreement with Nepal government in September last year, had promised to complete all the construction works within a year. However, failure to import materials from China on time and to find an appropriate constructor delayed the construction works, according to Chaurasiya.
As the health post has now got a new building, the situation of treating patients under a shed has now ended, said Deurali heath post in-charge Hari Man Basnet.
“After the devastating earthquakes damaged our building, we were compelled to treat patients under the shed but now this problem has been resolved,” said Basnet. Besides helping construct the new buildings, Messi Foundation also has donated some essential equipment to the health posts.
The local people were thrilled after knowing that the world football star Messi was helping build health post buildings in their place.
Inaugurating the newly-built building in Deurali, Gorkha Municipality’s Mayor Rajan Raj Pant thanked the Messi Foundation for providing the much-needed support in an earthquake-affected area. “World football star helping in an earthquake-affected country is quite appreciable. This is a great example of humanitarian work,” said Pant.
The five-time FIFA Ballon d’Or winner Messi who is also the goodwill ambassador of UNICEF since 2010, has been helping the UN body in charity works in different parts of the world through his organization. Messi had established his organization Messi Foundation in 2007 after paying a visit to ill children in Boston of the United States.
While establishing the organization with an aim of providing access to health care, education and sports for the children, Messi had said that he would want to help the children who are in need of support, adding that he also had seen much struggle through his life.
Messi Foundation has done its charity work in more than 30 countries. Through his foundation, Messi has built schools and hospitals in war-torn countries such as Syria, Jordan, and Sierra Leon.