In 2011, while leading a trek to Mount Kailash in Tibet, through Humla in the far north west of Nepal, the seed that would grow into Himalayan Quests annual free health camps was sown.
During this three week adventure in the mountains, my husband Amrit, who was leading the trek, mentioned to Dr Del Endres one of the trekkers, just how much he wanted to give back to the community he grew up in, but he wasn’t quite sure how. Dr Del, a Family Practitioner from Taos, New Mexico and medical mission veteran, regaled him with stories about the health camps she had organised and participated in, mostly within Central and South America and thus the idea was born.
In 2013 Amrit and I, supported by Dr Del, newly promoted to Himalayan Quests Health Camp Medical Director, organised and ran our first series of free, multi discipline health camps in rural mid west Nepal, offering locals access to health care not readily accessible in the area.
Dr Tim performing an eye check
Workshop with the community midwives
Consultations with Dr Del & Dr Sanjita
The health camps are now established as an annual event, each year getting bigger and busier. In 2013 we saw 1,537 registered patients, performed 1,830 consults and organised and paid for 28 post camp cataract operations.
In 2014 - 2,312 registered patients; 3,310 consults; 20 adult post camp cataract operations; cataract operation on both eyes for an 18 month old girl; hearing assessment and hearing aid for a 5 year old deaf mute; hydrocele operation for a 6 year old boy and the repairing of the tympanic membranes for a 15 year old, deaf mute.
Waiting to have the bandgages off and to see again
Looking at himself with 2 good eyes!
18 month old cataract patient Diskshya post op.
National and International health professionals, alongside non medical volunteers give their time and expertise to reach out to these rural communities, providing much needed services such as general health, midwifery, dental and eye check-ups, and new for 2015, physiotherapy.
Treating individuals, who would otherwise go untreated - these health camps make a powerful and lasting change in the lives of the thousands of patients that visit.
Dr Dilli at work
School children teaching about health & hygiene
2014 Health Camp Team + some of the local volunteers
The camps are 100% funded by donations and fundraising events and receive no support from the Nepali government.
The cost to run these camps is in the region of £7,500 – £10,000.
Just £35 will cover the cost of a cataract operation and give someone back their sight.
The 2015 camps are just around the corner and will run from the 15th – 21st April. Although funding wise we are doing OK, we have no idea how many people will turn up to be seen and what problems we will encounter that will require further investigation and maybe even surgery. For a project such as this, there can never be too much money. What isn’t used this year will roll over to support the 2016 health camps.
Amrit and I ask that you support us in the venture for however much you can afford and help us provide much needed free medical care in rural Nepal.
To read more about last year’s camps and to keep up to date on this year’s please take the time to look at our blog .
Thank you for giving the gift of health – the gift that keeps on giving.
Kate & Amrit at registration
- Natalie Klötzer
- Ally Clelland
- Julie Stivers
- Chris & Maggie Paish
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