Social Welfare and HealthRural Medical Camps
The medical camps which we have been running in partnership with the villages of Bupsa and Bumburi attract local people from miles around, many of whom walk for many hours and often days to attend the camps.
There are currently no permanent doctors in the region, which is home to a large, ethnically diverse population, spread over a number of rural communities made up of low income households. People lack access to basic health care and specialist treatment and have to walk for many days to attend the nearest hospital or else take the long and expensive journey to Kathmandu. The medical camps we run provide free consultation, treatment and advice from specialist qualified doctors as well as access to free medication on prescription.
Through these camps we also collect medical data to help gain a better picture of prevalent health issues suffered by people in the area. This allows us to tailor our other project work in the villages to help to provide effective preventative solutions to the health issues we encounter. A good example of this integrated approach to projects is our investment in improved, eco-friendly cooking stoves for households in the villages with which we work. These improved stoves, as well as reducing fuel use by around 50% and therefore helping to reduce deforestation, also ensure that smoke is expelled from the home, thereby helping to reduce associated respiratory and eye problems suffered by the population.
Read a blog by Kate Lowe, MBBS, MCEM, Emergency Medicine doctor based on the south coast of England, about volunteering with Moving Mountains on a medical camp in Nepal here.
Moving Mountains began supporting health facilities in the Solu Khumbu region of the Himalayas by funding deliveries of medicines and equipment to a small health post in the village of Khari Khola, which is located off the old Everest trail.
Following on from this, Moving Mountains started running free mobile medical camps in 2010 to the villages of Bupsa and Bumburi. The camps are led by qualified Nepalese doctors and dentists and are supported by volunteer medical and dentistry students from the UK, initially through a partnership with Bristol RAG and the University of Bristol, this has now been opened up to other universities and medical students, as well as qualified doctors, dentists and nurses from around the world.
This scheme is part of a wider ongoing initiative to improve the quality of life of people in the lower Khumbu region of rural Nepal. The village regeneration project is the implementation of a long-term development plan focussed around two rural villages. Overall enhancement of quality of life and sustainability of the community has so far been achieved via investment in infrastructure, education and healthcare as well as training and reliable employment.
The following is the 2016 and 2017 Medical Camp reports, there is also feedback in both from the students who took part, some of whom were only in Nepal for the Camp and others who did their Elective in Kathmandu before joining it. At the very least you'll get a better understanding of the typical medical issues that are faced in rural Nepal;
Aside from the more obvious physical and material elements, one of the main achievements of the project has been the rejuvenation of a community that was in serious decline and plagued by emigration to the lowlands and Maoist related violence. Through improvements in sanitation, schooling, employment and future prospects the communities have again begun to be an attractive proposition for life-long habitation.
The sustained close links of both Moving Mountains and Adventure Alternative to the area has provided locals with a reliable and ethical source of employment and training. Throughout the course of many years, Adventure Alternative has been running Mount Everest expeditions and Everest base camp treks. These have brought in charitable donations and also a reliable revenue stream. Many of the local Sherpa people have been employed to staff these trips as guides, porters and logistical organisers. In so-doing they have gained invaluable skills and experience.
A number of local Sherpas have now summitted Mt Everest with Adventure Alternative. This is an achievement that is held in huge esteem by the Sherpa community, helping to further raise the profile of their home villages as successful and thriving communities.
So far the physical achievements of the Moving Mountains projects include;
- Design, building, installation and commissioning of 6kw hydro-electric plant in Bumburi
- Electrical connection of all Bumburi homes to the hydro-electric plant
- Installation of hydro-mechanical milling machinery at the hydro plant in Bumburi
- Complete re-development of Bupsa school
- Complete re-development of Bumburi school
- Building of improved toilet facilities and water tap at Bumburi school
- Renovation of Bupsa Buddhist monastery
- Renovation of Bumburi monastery
- Provision of improved cooking stoves in all homes in Bumburi
- Provision of clean running water to all homes in Bumburi
- Construction and management of our Bumburi Health Clinic
Other initiatives include
- Annual medical camps in Bupsa and Bumburi providing free medical consultation and medication.
- Funding of teachers’ salaries in each of the two village schools
- Sponsorship of local children to go on to higher education in Kathmandu
- Training and employment of local villagers to run and maintain the hydro-plant
- Establishing community cooperative programmes for wealth generation