Dolpo Tsaga Welfare Healthcare Clinic
Free Healthcare Clinic for Dolpo
Menri Lopon Rinpoche invites you to participate with him in a fundraising effort to establish a free healthcare clinic in Tsaga, Upper Dolpo, Nepal, and give something of great value to the people of the land of his ancestors.
Upper Dolpo is the most remote and least developed district in Nepal. It is cut off from the rest of Nepal by a series of high mountain passes and closed by snow most of the year. Upper Dolpo shelters nearly 6,000 people of Tibetan descent, whose lives revolve around Buddhism, Bon, barley and yaks. Most of the villages are over 14,000 feet, making them among the highest settlements on earth. The Nepali government has restricted travel to the region to protect the culture and environment.
Lack of healthcare is a serious problem. The infant mortality rate is over 50%, with maternal mortality at more than 25%. Simple medications are nearly impossible to get, and infections from minor cuts and scrapes often lead to amputation or death. The closest medical support is 100 miles away across the mountains. This journey must be done on foot, since the route is little more than a goat trail on the side of a mountain. As a result, most illnesses and injuries go untreated.
Menri Lopon Trinley Nyima Rinpoche, a native of Upper Dolpo and head instructor at Menri Monastery in northern India, is leading the effort to build the clinic, at the request of the local villagers and nomads who have never had medical care of any sort.
The Tsaga Clinic will provide free healthcare to anyone in Upper Dolpo. It is located 6 miles from the southern border of Tibet in the village of Tsaga (aka Chaarka). Construction started in 2009. The structure is nearly complete but further work is needed to finish the interior. A professional contractor was hired to design the building and supervise construction, but all work is being done by the villagers themselves, and they are being paid for their labor. In addition, funds are needed to train clinic staff, provide medical supplies and equipment, and for the ongoing operation of the clinic. We will be providing solar power and fresh running water to the building and have been asked to buy one horse to be used for patient transport (a Dolpo “ambulance”) and two yaks to be used for transporting equipment and supplies.
Of our three doctors now in training, one woman is studying western medicine, one woman is studying traditional Tibetan medicine and one man is studying to be a nurse-practitioner/midwife. All three are from Dolpo, and are very excited about bringing medical care to the area. Our trained doctors will, in turn, give basic training in first aid and hygiene to the nomads, so that we can “pay it forward” for generations to come.
The clinic is being built on the grounds of the Yanggön Thongdröl Phuntsokling Monastery and will be run under the supervision of the monastery.
With your help the lives of the people of Dolpo will improve significantly. Your donation to the Tsaga Clinic Fund will help bring basic healthcare to the region and bring the peoples’ dream to reality. Donations are tax deductible and we’ll gratefully accept contributions of any size. The international fund raising effort is staffed by volunteers so your entire donation goes directly to the clinic.
Please give today. Make checks payable to KHYUNGDZONG WODSEL LING and mail them to:
c/o Dika Ryan
1977 N. New Hampshire Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
For more information contact
Dika Ryan Menri Lopon
It is with great happiness that we are able to share with you a report from our nurse for the Dolpo Health Clinic, Wangmo Thapa.
Many of you have made contributions over the past years to support the building of the clinic that Menri Lopon founded in his home village of Tsaga. With Wangmo’s report from the field – we get first-hand knowledge of how important this clinic has been for the people in this remote region. We also learn how costly it can be for the clinic and families to evacuate someone whose health crisis is beyond the scope of the clinic. This year our Tibetan doctor, Ugyen Bhuti, will join Wangmo and together they will serve the Clinic in the village and make medical excursions to even more remote nomadic regions.
Margaret & Dika
Khyungdzong Wodsel Ling
Margaret Frison, President
Dika Ryan, Treasurer
Report of Tsaga clinic 2014
Dolpo, a Trans-Himalayan region, in the upper part of Dolpa district of western Nepal bordered by Tibet is home to some of the highest altitude human dwelling places on earth. The beautiful mountains, pristine environment and rich culture and tradition makes this area an attractive place for those seeking new experience away from the hustle and bustle of congested cities. But the very beautiful mountains make this area one of the most inaccessible places to reach isolating it from the rest of the world. Inhabited by a culturally Tibetan people who earn their livelihood from an age-old tradition of subsistence farming coupled with animal husbandry, they struggle to make a living from this harsh and arid land. Neglected by the government and made doubly hard by language barrier, they are deprived from basic necessities like health care, education, proper transportation let alone modern amenities. To support those underprivileged communities recently some NGOs have started schools and clinics, yet a large swath of the population remains outside their purview.
Tsaga Clinic which was built in 2012 was totally functional from only this year. This Clinic was built by His Eminence Lopon Menri Trinley Nyima Rinpoche with the support of his foreign friends with the aim of providing basic medicines and health services to the people of Tsaga as to improve the quality of their life. Due to its hard geography and remoteness this place is neglected by its government and foreign help had not been reached as it is inaccessible to the tourist because of many unavoidable reasons. People here are deprived of many basic facilities including heath. There are records of children dying from even minor diarrhea resulting in dehydration and mothers dying during and after child- birth is treated as normal. Due to high maternal death during labor, to get pregnant here is like having some deathly disease at terminal stage.
This year from April to October we tried our best to help the people fight minor health problems and referred those we can’t treat out there. The services we provided this year are as follows:
- Basic medicines
- First Aids
- Family planning services (Oral Contraceptive Pills, Depo-provera injection, Implants for five years.)
- Antenatal check up
- Postnatal check up
- Home delivery with skilled birth attendant
- Awareness talks to the peoples
There were total 531 people who visited the clinic this year presenting different problems among which 359 were female. The clinic was not only visited by the resident of Tsaga village but also by the people of Mukot village as there is no any clinic or health service provider. This VDC has four villages and the nearest one is a 7 hour trek from Tsaga. The people here come mostly because of the following problems:
- Dental carries
- To seek family planning services
- Antenatal check ups
- Urinary tract infections
- Skin problems
- Other minor health problems
In this region the main health problem seems to be Arthritis and APD as the people are involve in labor work where they have to carry heavy loads and walk long distance despite the cold weather. Most of the people here have liver problem including Hepatitis B and gastritis because of high fat consumption, excessive alcohol consumption and irregular diet and lack of awareness. The prevalence of Hepatitis B is the major problem of this area both for the villagers and the heath workers.
The people of this region are involve in agriculture and animal husbandry because of which they are always in movement and this make them even harder to access health facilities. This year we follow them to their pasture and ran small mobile clinic as well. The clinic not only provide free medicines but Rinpoche also has provided financial support to some of the critical patients who were referred to Kathmandu. As there is no any higher health center at the periphery where we can refer the cases we are left with the only choice of referring them to Kathmandu even though the cost of transportation and treatment is out of reach for many villagers. In emergency cases the only means to get to Kathmandu is chattering Helicopter, which cost minimum Rs. 500000. And for the people of Dolpo to have this much money is almost a dream. The only means to earn cash money is by selling a herb called Yarchagumbu from which even if they collected the maximum number they can earn up to 300000 by which they have to feed their family for whole year and run the home. So most of the family and patient with critical illness give up before even trying.
Some important achievements:
Case 1: Name: Tsering Buti
Age: 37, Address: Tsarka
Tsering Buti was having health problem on and off since the end of November 2013. She was following the traditional Amchis till she came in my contact on April. When I first met her she was already having clinical feature of last stage liver cirrhosis with ascites, dysuria, excessive weight loss, consistent diarrhea, liver palpable, hypertension and proteinuria etc. Since I don’t have any choice then putting her in frusemide, thiamine, pantaprazole and hepamerz I consulted her and the family to go to higher center for proper diagnosis and treatment but since they couldn’t afford the transportation fare she was force to bear the discomfort and pain for more than a month. And one day on April 15 a group of Americans leaded by Cheryl Parkin arrived in Tsarka mainly to visit the clinic, with equipments and medicines for the clinic. With them was the lady with heart of gold Dr. Sara Mitchie who on my request went to see the patient and decided to pay the Helicopter’s fare to Kathmandu. I couldn’t believe at first at what was happening and when I realized that the patient will be able received higher care I couldn’t control myself and burst in tear. The whole family was revived with the hope that she could live her life after the treatment. The smile on their face was worth seeing thanks to Dr. Sara. But unfortunately when she reached in the hospital at Kathmandu the doctor announced that it was too late and she was having last stage of liver cancer and have only few weeks with her. She was brought back and lived three more a month. But in her last days she was happy that she tried every possible way to get her treated even though it didn’t work out she could rest in peace without regrets. She and her family told me that if they were unable to go to Kathmandu they would have always thought that she could have been treated if she could be taken to Kathmandu but now they would have to live with that regret at least. The question here is if there is a hospital or health personnel from the beginning would it have been different? Will the three children have to lose their mother at such young age?
I would always be grateful to Dr. Sara Mitchie for what she have done for the patient and for me as well because till the day the patient as rescued I was unable to sleep thinking what might happen to her and her family, I was feeling frustrated and helpless as I was not being able to do anything except visiting everyday and supporting emotionally. Though the case was not success we can be happy that we could prolong her life for few more months as if it was not the clinic then she wouldn’t have lasted till July.
Case 2: Name: Lhazom
Age: 15, Address: Tsaga
This young girl came to the clinic with complain of sudden onset of acute pain at the right side of her lower abdomen. On her arrival to the clinic she was in sever pain and couldn’t stand properly. All of her symptoms pointed toward Appendicitis. I explained to the family about my suspicion and the need of emergency treatment if it is so. As they have never heard of appendicitis before they didn’t take my opinion and went to the local Amchi. He diagnosed her as having problem of menstruation and treated accordingly. But her condition was getting worse with every passing hour. I couldn’t give her any laxative and analgesics as it increase the risk of perforation. Though I gave her antibiotic the next day to control the infection in case of perforation, as that was the only thing I could think of at the particular time. After suffering for three days Rinpoche I got a call from Rinpoche and he asked me what I suggest and I told him to rescue her as soon as possible. Finally Rinpoche agreed with me and decided to send a helicopter to rescue her but as unfortunate as it could be the helicopter couldn’t come on the day because of the bad weather and she had to bear the pain one more day. The next day after four days of severe pain and fear of the unknown she was rescued and taken to hospital in Kathmandu. They had to conduct a major surgery as the appendix has perforated and it was in the process of sepsis. Though she has to undergo major surgery and extensive treatment she survived and is leading a normal life for now. She was lucky to have the clinic and Rinpoche by her access many more don’t get this lucky and have to die an untimely death.
Case 3: Name: Shyerab
Age: 38, Address: Mukot
This lady was suffering from severe side effect of Implants and wants to get it removed. I went to her place, which is one day walk (10 hour of speedy walk) to see what I could do. I removed the implant and the outcome was worth the walk she recovered from the problems soon after. The patients and the family were so happy that they could get service from someone who speak their language and at their door. If the clinic in Tsarka has not been there they would have to travel 4 days to get the implant removed and with the weight she had gained and with other problems it seems almost impossible.
Though the clinic is very small and in its starting phase it is of great help to the people of this area. The donation provided by the donors, are giving life, relieving suffering and making life easier even though in small ways. Next year we want to take dental equipment as there are many people with dental problems for which I am going for a dental training at the end of the February.
The Dolpo Health Clinic is up and running – lives are being saved and suffering is being alleviated!
Please help us support the clinic by giving a monthly sustaining donation. With your donation we will be able to continue to provide wages for our staff, purchase medical supplies and fund emergency medical evacuations.
Meet one of our doctors-in-training!
My name is Ugyen Bhuti, I was born 18th Dec. 1989. My father’s main occupation is farming and my mother is a simple housewife. There are 8 children in the family, and most still live in my village.
I came to India in 1996 to study, and completed 10th grade at Dholanji, Solan. In 2005 I went to Sarnath, Varanasi to study Tibetan Medicine. I have to study there for 9 years.
Tibetan Medicine is very interesting and helpful for all mankind, because it doesn’t have any bad side-effects. I feel very happy to get this chance to study Tibetan Medicine.