Background

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 them any help. The time has come to do something”

An opportunity presented itself in the isolated village called Ghandruk in the Kaski district of Annapurna Region. The only medical service available to this village and the local area is a simple sub-health post providing only the basic facilities. The attendant has rudimentary training and is only able to dispense a small number of very basic medications. Any condition requiring serious medical attention demands that the patient walk or be carried 7 hours across rugged terrain, followed by a 45 Km drive to the nearest hospital in Pokhara. It is no surprise that there are many stories of people dying before they can receive treatment.

After consulting with the Ghandruk village elders and obtaining endorsement from government officials, it was decided that this community of 5872 people would benefit greatly from an improved healthcare facility. continued…

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Introduction

I am sure you have some questions, such as:

  • Who are we?
  • What are we?
  • When are we doing this?
  • Where?
  • Why?

We hope to answer those questions in the following pages. You see, 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 upon 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.

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