Terma Foundation

 

Terma Foundation

This organisation was established in 1995 by an American public health scientist, Nancy Harris, who had surveyed child nutrition in the Tibet Autonomous Region in the early 1990’s and wanted to make a positive contribution to improving the health of the children she had met. Registered in California, the foundation has so far implemented public health projects in rural areas of Lhasa Municipality and Chamdo Prefecture, in collaboration with local health authorities.To combat infant malnutrition the foundation distributes multivitamin tablets and processed droma – a nutritious tuber that grows wild in Tibet and is part of the traditional, local diet – to poor households with young children and/or nursing mothers. Terma works with droma harvesters to increase supply of the wild plant, and is planning to partner with local farmers in a pilot commercial cultivation project. Training and health education programmes with maternal and child health workers, pregnant women and mothers are designed to increase their understanding of nutrition, to promote culturally acceptable forms of breast-feeding, and to increase early identification of high-risk pregnancies.In order to design effective future programmes the foundation has carried out a systematic study into the efficacy of Traditional Tibetan Medicine in preventing and treating child health problems. A separate study has compared the relative effectiveness of vitamin supplements and increased exposure to sunlight as strategies for preventing rickets.

In 2004, the foundation began a five-year Tuberculosis prevention and control programme that includes health worker training, and provision of medical equipment and supplies. This has started in Chamdo and will later be implemented in other TAR prefectures. In the first stage of the project, every county in Chamdo was supplied with an X-ray machine, and received appropriate training in radiography.

In November 2006, the Terma Foundation received the World of Children Award in honour of Nancy S. Harris and her life’s work on behalf of the Tibetan children.

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