Nepal is a trekking and climbing paradise for tourists. But for Nepalese villagers who live in the remote parts, their everyday life is filled with challenges brought about by the remoteness and harshness of their environment. One of the most confronting issues in these areas is the lack of medical facilities. The absence of adequate facilities is partly due to the ruggedness of the landscape, particularly in the high Himalayas, where the only way to travel is by foot. Villagers are forced to walk on average half to one day in order to access basic health services (assuming there are any facilities at all in their region). Walking such distances in difficult terrain can be extremely hazardous for someone needing medical attention. In severe cases they have to be carried or simply die because they cannot reach medical help in time. In addition, many who find themselves unable to afford the loss of even one day’s work sometimes remain untreated. As a result, minor ailments can develop complications which turn into major illnesses that could easily have been prevented with prompt attention.
In 2007 Bir Singh Gurung, a local Nepalese trekking and expedition leader, decided to undertake a project that would make a real difference to the lives of remote Nepalese villagers. In the thirteen years that Bir Singh has been employed by World Expeditions, a well known Australian adventure company, his expeditions have taken him to many remote regions. “Whenever I travel through these remote villages, I always feel regret that we are just travelling through without being able to give the villagers any help. The time has come to do something”.
Initial support from Groupo Autonomo Voluntary (an Italian based group of individuals) for the first 5 years enabled the clinic to be established and staff employed, providing a consistent medical service to a community of 6000 people. In the past there were little or no medical services available in the area. The clinic regularly treats over 4500 patients per annum, providing a free medical service to those in need.