Medical Camp in Nepal
This trip involves travel into the breath-taking Himalayan foothills to help set up and run a medical and dental clinic in two beautiful Nepali villages. This trip offers a unique and fascinating insight into rural healthcare and it has been going now for many years, and many people opt to link this trip with further travelling in Nepal or further afield in south east Asia.
We have been running free community medical camps since 2010 and they have formed the backbone of a very successful health programme in the villages which has been well documented by the students. We employ Nepalese doctors and dentists to supervise and support volunteer medical and dentistry students from the UK.
The clinics attract people from miles around, many of whom have walked for hours or even days to reach the clinic. In previous years we have seen over 1,000 people in 10 days. Throughout these camps we aim to see as many patients as possible, and provide free medical and dental attention, treatment and advice. We also aim to collect medical data to help gain a better understanding of the most common health issues in the area - this can help Moving Mountains to tailor this work in the area to provide effective medical clinics and also guide their research in building a permanent medical clinic in this area; which is the long term aim.
We also aim to provide some basic medical education to the local people, such as basic first aid skills, oral hygiene education and other primary healthcare advice. The trip is suitable for undergraduates studying medicine and dentistry but also for anyone interested in community health in a region like this. It has clear career benefits but we would like to think this is not the primary motive for coming, the prime incentive is to help create a proper medical support network which has a reach of thousands of people, something that became visibly apparent during the aftermath of the earthquake in May 2015.
The fundraising for this trip pays for the Nepalese staff and the medicines themselves, and also the running of a community health post and salaries for two nurses who offer frontline health facilities for local people and referrals to the main clinic in Saleri or Kathmandu for more difficult cases. The medical camp has directly funded this facility through many students who have come and visited, and it will enable medical students to carry out part of their elective in the region too.
This video describes a bit about the relationship between Adventure Alternative and the charity Moving Mountains from the founder Gavin Bate.
For this trip you don't need to be a fully qualified physician although we usually encourage groups to me mainly made up of year 3 students. The programme is designed so that you are giving a valuable service but also gaining fantastic experience. At the same time it is allowing you to interact with our professional medical practitioner who can show you specific applications tailored to the local needs. We are not expecting you to be experts in any specific or even related fields, but we will expect you to come back with a great deal of knowledge at the end of it.
The most important characteristics you need are openness, willingness to learn and take part, enthusiasm, initiative and a sense of curiosity. Your experience simply as a person from another culture will give you an enormous amount to share with local people who perhaps have less opportunities than you. The trip can be emotional, and you will meet people whose lives seem almost impossible to live, but your interaction with them will help in ways you can't measure.
ADVENTURE ALTERNATIVE SUPPORT
We run our trips from a permanently staffed office in Kathmandu and our team provide an excellent service. They know how to deal with medical emergencies and speak good English. They are very attentive and after so many years have a good understanding of western needs. The porters will carry your main bag, up to a maximum of 15kgs and cater for all the group needs, including assisting you if you need to go back down to the valley. All accommodation is in lodges or teahouses which are well equipped, warm and sociable.
Medical camp in Nepal itinerary
The core dates cover a 19 day period, which starts with your arrival in Kathmandu. The second day is a rest, briefing and sightseeing day. We fly up into the mountains on day 3 and arrive into the village on day 4. We then live, work and experience the local way of life and undertake the project in this stunningly beautiful part of the world up until day 15. We then head back to Lukla (a 2 day walk) for our return to Kathmandu on day 18.
|1-2||On day 1 arrive in Kathmandu. Transfer to the Adventure Alternative guesthouse. Day 2 will be a rest day, with time to prepare for the project, explore the city and visit local temples. Overnight at Adventure Alternative guesthouse.|
|3||Leave the guesthouse early to catch a mountain flight to Lukla. After landing in Lukla trek to Puiyan. This trek is up and down through the green countryside, staying in lodges in villages on the way. The days are about 5 or 6 hours long, and will begin at about 8:30, after breakfast. The trek will be at a relaxed pace, and there is plenty of time to stop and meet people, take photos, have long lunches and enjoy this amazing region called the Solu Khumbu. Altitude sickness is extremely unlikely to be an issue, since Bumburi is at an approximate height of 2,300m. Throughout the trek you will be very well looked after by the Sherpas.|
|4||Trek from Puiyan to Bumburi and Bupsa where the medical clinics will be held.|
|5-15||Medical Clinic in Bumburi and Bupsa. Our time will be split between the two villages. The clinic will start on day 5 and finish on day 15. In the evening of day 15 you will have the finishing celebrations|
|16||On day 16 we will bid farewell to our hosts and leave the villages to trek back through the valleys to Puiyan.|
|17||Trek from Puiyan to Lukla. Overnight in Lukla.|
|18||Fly back to Kathmandu and head home to the guesthouse, where Pasang's wife, Saraswoti, will have prepared a welcome meal.|
|19||Either continue your stay in Nepal or onward travel (home or elsewhere). In Nepal you can relax and visit the sights around the Kathmandu valley. In Kathmandu there will be time to explore temples and sacred sites in this eclectic capital, while staying in our own guesthouse with the family of Pasang. We can help you with any optional add ons at this stage, such as exploring the Kathmandu valley, riding Elephants in Chitwan National Park or discovering more of Nepal.|
On the trek you will be staying in tea houses and lodges and in the villages you will be staying in local houses. You will be extremely well looked after by the families! The accommodation is not western hotel standard, but it is comfortable. You will have a bed and a mattress. These are traditional buildings which are very much in keeping with the environment and the Sherpas have been perfecting their way of life for hundreds of years.
Food is of a good quality, will be mainly local foods such as dal bhat (lentil stew with rice and curried potatoes or meat), boiled potatoes with chilli sauce, Sherpa stew (meat, potatoes, vegetables in a rich sauce) or curry with rice. These are the staple foods for Sherpa people.
Bottled water is for sale on the trek to the villages but we do not recommend the purchase of plastic bottles which are environmentally unsound. The best option is to ask for boiled water from the kitchen to fill your water bottle in the evening, and use water purification tablets, or an AquaPure traveller water bottle (see section “h” - equipment list) during the day. Please note that cheap Nalgene water bottles bought in Nepal are fake and they split! So remember to bring a suitable bottle from home. River water is generally full of glacial silt and could possibly be contaminated with animal urine and the run-off from toilets, so do not drink this.
There will be electricity in the lodges while you are trekking and while you are in the villages. You must bring a two pin round plug adaptor though. The output is usually 110V. Power comes from a solar panel which is stepped up, or from hydro-electric power. Electrical charging in the villages is free, however there will be a charge for this in the lodges on your trek.
Medical Camp in Nepal cost £855.00
- All accommodation and meals provided in the mountains
- Accommodation (either in shared rooms or tents pitched in the garden of our Kathmandu Guest House) - 3 nights
- Return internal flights to Lukla & airport transfers for these flights
- Adventure Alternative leader and guides
- Adventure Alternative porters (one porter carries 15kg for every 2 clients)
- Staff food, insurance and equipment
- Personal project fundraising target; £750 per person, which is paid directly to our charity, Moving Mountains Trust, so you can set up online fundraising pages and claim gift aid
- International flight
- Personal Travel Insurance
- Meals and drinks in Kathmandu
- Personal expenses such as extra snacks, bottled water and soft drinks, souvenirs
All of our International Development Projects have been identified, researched, assessed, priced and approved by our charity Moving Mountains. All people going on this trip receive a clear breakdown of the projected outcomes and expenditure of the money which has been raised. Some of it is spent on the camp itself - medicines, Nepalese medical staff - and some of it goes on the continued expense of maintaining the clinic and the two nurses. Sometimes we use the money for referrals.
Our local provider is Adventure Alternative Nepal. Adventure Alternative Nepal complies with UK tourism standards. Otherwise the local providers are the villagers themselves who will be welcoming hosts and ensure you have a great time and are well looked after.
Medical Camp in Nepal - principles
Inclusive and relevant
Our medical camps are open to anybody, and there is a clear understanding that any community event like this can only exist if there is a need that is identified by the local people in the villages.
We have an equal opportunities policy and strict policies regarding child protection, and we are founding members of Fair Trade Volunteering movement.
We ensure that the emphasis on personal development and international development is balanced, and that this medical camp is always part of a long term aim which has been properly evidenced.
Training and preparation
Our support includes training and preparation from dedicated staff in the UK, which ensures that your time with us is productive and enjoyable and effective. Our training staff are experienced in managing volunteer expectations, and have a background in development.
Every camp aims to achieve some kind of development impact which has been developed in partnership with a credible partner, in our case Moving Mountains which has twenty years of experience in social welfare, education and health in developing countries.
We analyse the processes of change that occur so that there is clear evidence for the need of events like this, and we use impact assessment ‘maps’ to try and define the developmental process.
We communicate with all relevant stakeholders and ensure that the placements are collectively agreed, for example with regional administrations and village development committees in the solu Khumbu.
Integrating with the community
The living arrangements for placements ensures that volunteers develop a real insight into the lives of the community, which includes shopping locally, cooking local recipes, travelling on local transport and using community facilities like the early child development centres and attending community events.
Long term commitment
During the trip there is always opportunity to meet with experienced staff who can help with evaluations and reflection, helping to build on the skills and knowledge and experience being gained. One of the biggest aims of the programme is to encourage people to engage in society on their return and take part in many incentives to promote global healthcare solutions.
Role model at the Medical Camp in Nepal
Without doubt you will witness the strong links between Adventure Alternative and Moving Mountains and the communities that you are placed in. As such, you will be an ambassador for both Adventure Alternative and Moving Mountains and there will be many young people looking up to you as a role model.
You will not be expected to be a visiting Doctor who sees patients although sometimes of course misunderstanding occurs, we recommend you discuss clearly with the supervisor what you can and can't do, and also make it clear to patients that they are being seen by a student and not a qualified Doctor. Read our paper on Ethics of a Medical Elective to see more. This takes communication and an ethical attitude from us to make sure your time in-country is not misused.
The promise to Moving Mountains
Adventure Alternative works with the Moving Mountains Trust which operates NGOs in Kenya and Nepal and carries out many long term projects and programmes. 'MM' was started by Gavin Bate during many years working in aid work and development, and 'AA' is the company that provides revenue and investment for many of them to become financially self-sufficient.
This relationship between company and charity began in 1991 and our medical programme has sprung from the relationships we have with the medical authorities and the communities which you will visit.
We run long term ongoing medical programmes with Moving Mountains, and also at the request of local communities and hospitals. We have worked with medical authorities in many locations to ensure ongoing continuity as well as medical co-operation with other aspects of our work, for example the children’s homes we build and run, and the satellite private clinics which serve smaller remote communities.
Medical Camp in Nepal - why us
This trip has been entirely thought out in terms of the local people and the impact upon them, and the benefit they can gain from having visitors like you. It’s not just a tourist trail, it really is an unusual adventure which is part of a wider ongoing initiative to improve the quality of life of people in the lower Khumbu region of rural Nepal.
In that respect the trip falls within all the categories of the FairTrade Volunteering trademark, the visit is about making a positive impact on the people who live there.
This medical programme has been running for several years now and is well established in the community, and we have annual progress reports which prove that the event is having a positive impact on healthcare in the region, especially alongside our other aims to provide clean water, a health post and primary healthcare education in the schools. Our long term vision is clear.
Moving Mountains has societies based in Bristol and in Cambridge universities who have provided continuity for the medical camps and students who attend.
We run our treks from a permanently staffed office in Kathmandu and our dedicated team provide an excellent service. As well as Pasang, our director in Nepal, our other guides include Geljun Sherpa from Bupsa, Ang Chhongba Sherpa and Lopsang Sherpa.
All of our guides have been employed for over ten years with us, and they have been trained to our high standards personally by Director and mountaineer Gavin Bate. They know how to deal with medical emergencies and speak good English. They are very attentive and after so many years have a good understanding of western needs. We give the full recommended wage and provide clothing, food and tents for all of our staff and have proven policies for payment and tipping.
Medical camp in Nepal - history
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.
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 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 project include:
- Design, building, installation and commissioning of 6kw hydro-electric plant in Bumburi
- Electrical connection of 66 Bumburi homes to the hydro-electric plant
- Installation of hydro-mechanical milling machinery at the hydro plant in Bumburi
- Building of 6 new classrooms at Bupsa school
- Building of 6 new classrooms at Bumburi school
- Building of improved toilet facilities and water tap at Bumburi school
- Renovation of Bupsa Buddhist monastery
- Renovation of Bumburi monastery
- Provision of 66 improved cooking stoves in Bumburi
- Provision of clean running water to 66 homes in Bumburi
Other initiatives include
- Annual medical camps in Bupsa and Bumburi providing free medical consultation and medication.
- Funding of 4 teachers’ salaries in each of the two village schools
- Sponsorship of 11 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
Visit the Moving Mountains website for more information on our work in Nepal and beyond.
- Duration 19 days
- Numbers 10-25
- Altitude 2850m
- Accommodation Lodges and homestays