Nepal sends in clowns to help young patients



AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE

Published — Sunday 23 December 2012

Last update 23 December 2012 3:00 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

He may not be much of a doctor but the children’s faces light up when Dush The Clown shuffles onto their ward in his floppy shoes and red nose to prescribe his unique brand of medical care.
Dush — alias 36-year-old David Barashi — is in Nepal to teach doctors and nurses that laughter really can be the best medicine, with the latest evidence suggesting clowning around in hospitals can boost patient care.
“Everyone can take something from the clown,” said Barashi, who has worked as a qualified medical clown for ten years.
“When you are in a hospital, you shouldn’t just see the sick and the painful side of the patient, you should see the healthy side, the side that wants to be a kid.
“We all have a child inside of us and clowning in hospital is about empowering childhood.”
Studies have shown that clowning programmes can reduce pain and anxiety in children and adults, increase the success rate of in-vitro fertilization, lower blood pressure and improve the care of elderly suffering from dementia.
Barashi, who holds a degree in medical clowning from the University of Haifa, shows doctors, nurses and lecturers how he is able to use clowning with children to make them feel better ahead of surgery.
He worked with orphans in Ethiopia, tsunami survivors in Asia and children in quake-hit Haiti.
“It’s not about making doctors and nurses into clowns. We work together. It doesn’t work in the hospital if the doctors and nurses do not see me as part of the medical team,” he said.
So Barashi doesn’t ask medics to learn juggling or wear clown costumes, but instead encourages them to customise their white coats with a badge or scarf to which a young patient might relate.
“Find a very nice icon which works as a rope you throw to the child. They hold the rope and then you start to build a connection and the environment of a playground,” he told AFP.
Nepal is one of the world’s poorest countries, with more than half the population living on less than $ 1.25 a day. In 2007 the government endorsed health care as a basic human right in the interim constitution, introducing a policy of free treatment for the poorest and most vulnerable.
But development agencies say nearly one in four people in Nepal still has no access to even basic health care.
More than 10 years after the Robin Williams movie “Patch Adams” told the real-life story of a doctor who believed humor should be major part of patient care, Nepal is discovering clowning around really does work.
Barashi trained 30 Nepalese hospital staff a year ago and is training another 20 or so, with courses oversubscribed.

Clearly the trainees are inspired by Barashi as he takes them through a day of classroom games designed to make them better listeners and more intuitive thinkers.
In one exercise the group tries to get a volunteer to do their bidding — to stand on a chair, for example — simply by clapping when he makes a right move and remaining silent when he gets it wrong.
The idea is to get the doctors and nurses to think about how they communicate with children on the ward, and also to help them become more empathetic.
“I’ve been working in hospitals more than 10 years and I’ve seen doctors and nurses that just don’t look fresh,” Barashi said.
“We clowns also can get very tired and nervous about other things in our lives but when we put on our costumes we feel fresh.
“You see a nurse that has been working in a hospital for 20 years and after she has been on the program suddenly you see a child. She starts to play.”

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

ALKHOBAR: A power failure at the King Fahd Causeway on Wednesday night resulted in a massive traffic congestion, even as officials failed to explain the cause of the snag, local media reported.A power outage for 74 minutes on the link between the Kin...
JEDDAH: A female Saudi lawyer was able to get a stay order on a ruling by the general court in Jeddah that awarded custody of a two-year-old girl to her father. She successfully argued to get the court order reversed that gave custody back to the mot...
JEDDAH: The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Haia) said that combating harassment cases is part of its responsibility to promote Islamic values and morals in society.“Those harassing women will be brought to book,” s...
RIYADH: A thick layer of sand covered the city’s skyline on Saturday with a heavy blanket of dust caused by strong winds hampering visibility and creating traffic snarls on busy roads.The traffic department advised motorists to drive slowly and exerc...
JEDDAH: More than 26 million Umrah pilgrims and worshippers visited the Grand Mosque during the month of Ramadan and in the first few days after Eid Al-Fitr, thanks to a smooth transport arrangement under the guidance of Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-...
AL-AHSA: An outbreak of lumpy skin disease (LSD) has been discovered in cattle in Al-Ahsa which is an area with many cows. All necessary measures have been taken to protect the livestock, said Mahmoud Al-Shuaibi of the Agriculture Department in Al-Ah...
RIYADH: An architectural masterpiece — the King Abdul Aziz Historical Center (KAHC) — in Riyadh is a huge complex dedicated solely to collecting, preserving, promoting and showcasing the history and heritage of Saudi Arabia. The KAHC is a three milli...
RIYADH: The Saudi Blind Society (Kafif) has made all preparations for the three-day workshop for the blind to be held here next week and attended by delegates from various Asian countries.Mohammed bin Suleiman Al-Shuwaiman, Kafif director general, th...
JEDDAH: The number of Saudis who took early retirement schemes last year stood at 38,647, the General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI) has said. The Eastern Provinces got the lion's share of disbursements for retirees, amounting to SR3.8 bill...
JEDDAH: Meat and poultry topped the list of food items seized by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) at the border crossings for violating the health standards in the last two months.Approximately 267,137 kg of unfit meat and poultry were reject...
JEDDAH: Many sponsors and workers of small companies are struggling to get a comparatively cheaper health cover for renewal of iqama (residential permit) as the insurance companies have stopped issuing the same.The passport department has made it com...
RIYADH: Police have detained 11 Indonesian nationals, who arrived in the holy city of Makkah for Umrah a few days back.The Indonesian Religious Affairs Ministry is working closely with the Indonesian Consulate in Jeddah to assist the group of citizen...
JEDDAH: The National Committee for Bakeries at the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC) said this Haj season would see no shortage in supplies of bakery items.The committee said there was need to increase operational labor by about 20 percent.It confirmed...
JEDDAH: Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Al Hamzi, director general of prisons, has sacked Brig. Ahmad Al Shahrani, director of Jeddah prisons, after the case of a video clip about prisoners taking heroin went viral, according to local media.Quoting informed source...
JEDDAH: Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal met with leaders of security forces in the region on Thursday to discuss future plans and mechanisms to limit infiltrators from entering the holy sites via land passageways during Haj.During the meeting, he...

Stay Connected

Facebook