August 6, 2014

National Student Volunteer Week – Shanti Gautam Uprety

As this week is National Student Volunteer week we have profiled some of our student volunteers.

Here is our second volunteer profile from Shanti Gautam Uprety from Nepal.

Thank you Shanti for sharing your story with us and for the work you have done so far. We look forward to continuing to work with you!

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Tell us a little bit about yourself…

My name is Shanti Gautam Uprety and I am a post graduate student of Health Promotion from the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia. I am from the nursing background back in Nepal thus having a good idea of the health determinants of the people. The sole objective to commence the health promotion subject is to promote health through preventive aspects instead of focusing on curative services.

What made you decide to become a volunteer (in general)?

I am here at Lung Foundation Australia as part of my student placement. I especially chose this project as I have an interest in knowing more about lung health and to learn how the project is contributing towards achieving healthy lungs for people.

How did you become a volunteer at Lung Foundation Australia?

The focus of my subject is COPD because prevalence of this disease in my home country Nepal is very high. Nepal is ranked in 37th position in the world in terms of death due to lung disease (primarily COPD) by the World Health Organisation.[1] At the same time, Nepal ranks highly in terms of tobacco use, especially amongst women, which is considered as the primary cause of this disease.[2] In addition, indoor pollution from biomass and traditional fuels is also associated with this disease. In Nepal, more than 75% of people rely on biomass fuel putting them in high risk of COPD, especially women who spend comparatively longer period of time cooking.[3] These are the facts that drive me to work on lung health.

Why did you become a volunteer for Lung Foundation Australia?

Given the statistics, if I can learn some of the strategies to deal with such risk factors to reduce the prevalence of the disease, I am hoping to bring positive changes in the people’s lung health after completing my study.

How has volunteering helped your studies?

Lung Foundation Australia is working to support all aspects of lung health from asthma to cancer to COPD through intensive research, developing educational fact-sheets, training health professionals, undertaking community awareness activity and advocacy around Australia. I will also try to employ some of its strategies to work towards lung health in the near future, back in my country Nepal.

Would you encourage other students to volunteer?

The working environment in this project is very conducive and fantastic which  facilitates achieving my goals easily. All the staff members are hardworking and helpful and I strongly encourage other students to volunteer here. It will help to sharpen their skills and awareness regarding lung health, especially those who are looking to work with lung health in the future.

 

References

[1] 2014, Nepal: Lung Disease, World Health Rankings, http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/nepal-lung-disease, Accessed 06/08/2014.

[2] 2012, Prevalence of tobacco use among adults and adolescents, World Health Organisation, http://gamapserver.who.int/gho/interactive_charts/tobacco/use/atlas.html, Accessed 06/08/2014

[3] Surendra, K et. al., Current status of renewable energy in Nepal: Opportunities and challenges, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Vol. 15 (2011) pg4107–4117, http://manoa.hawaii.edu/reis/wp-content/files_mf/paperkcsurendra.pdf, Accessed 06/08/2014