Nepali Times
Life Times
Nick Simons Institute


When the friendly 22-year-old American Nick Simons (pictured) arrived in Kathmandu in 2002 he worked for an NGO in the hydropower sector. In March 2003 he returned home to New York and told his parents, Jim and Marilyn Simons, how he had grown to love Nepal sharing with them his dream to study medicine. Before starting his mandatory premedical course in the autumn of 2003, he decided to travel to Bali where he tragically drowned while swimming.

In 2006, Jim and Marilyn set up the Nick Simons Institute in Kathmandu in memory of their son to provide quality health care to people in rural Nepal. In its first five years, NSI has had a remarkable impact on training and supporting health facilities in rural Nepal. Partnering with other hospitals and organisations, NSI has helped train and support over 1,000 health care workers and 90 per cent are still working in their rural locations.

NSI has realised the importance of working with government institutions so that the impact of the program (for example, training skilled birth attendants) is more effective and widespread. Much-needed refresher courses for health workers in rural areas has met with a great deal of enthusiasm by the participants which is bound to influence patient care.

A formal anesthesia assistant course for non-doctor anesthetist developed by NSI has been welcomed because in rural areas emergency surgery is often not conducted even in the presence of a surgeon because of lack of an anesthetist. Learning to administer anesthesia is a very "hands on", technical procedure that can be competently taught in one year in a step wise manner. Many rural patients will doubtless benefit from these skillful, nurse anesthetists.

Continued medical education for many doctors in Nepal consists of drug-company sponsored evenings where an expert gives a talk followed by dinner. For the first time in Nepal, NSI has created and disseminated Nepal's continuing medical education course (Volume 1) for doctors which is very relevant and popular. Volume 2 is "in press".

NSI, by taking this untrodden path to better health in rural Nepal, has fulfilled the wish of the young Nick Simons by providing competent care to Nepalis in their own communities. On Saturday, NSI moves to its own premises in Sanepa at a ceremony to be attended by president Ram Baran Yadav.

See also:
The gift of life
An American billionaire invests in rural health care in Nepal in memory of his son

1. Anonymous
My heartfelt congratulations to NSI ! Jim and Marilyne Simons have not only demonstrated outstanding courage to promote HRH in rural Nepal but also set an exemplary role model for those who are materially well-off yet want to spend part of their wealth for the greater good of society, i.e. for the cause of the down trodden and the forgotten. Their sincere effort to extend helping hands to the needy represents the best tradition and culture of philanthropy in the US. I wish rich people living in Kathmandu and other big cities of Nepal learn from the message from the action of NSI. We need more of the NSI spirit !

2. Shiva Prasad
I appreciate professor Simons involvement in Nepal and I hope it will bring him peace and happiness. There are many people in Kathmandu who are rich, may not be as much as professor Simons but still alot from Nepali standard, and they should really open up their wallet to help rural places like Jajarkot. We also need to appreciate people like Buddhi Basnyat, Sanduk Ruit, Ram Prasad Pokhrel, Bhagavan Koirala who stay in Nepal and make profound effect in our society. Media should have no doubt that our true role models are these people, not some lousy politicians.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)