There are only two doctors living in the area, and only one of them, Dr. Bupuk, has training in Chinese or Western medicine. He has a limited supply of medicines he purchases from the city and Tibetan medicines that he collects and makes himself. He has no medical equipment.
Due to the remoteness and difficult lifestyle of these communities, people who are sick, wounded, or physically vulnerable are at great risk of losing their life. For example, there are no professional midwives in the region. Expectant mothers rely on friends and relatives for help while giving birth. Because of the lack of basic pre- and post-natal medical care, infant and maternal mortality is very high.
Elderly Tibetans and children below one year of age are also among the most vulnerable: small ailments turn deathly in these regions for lack of preventative, effective and immediate medical help.
The Solution: Health For All
Our aim is to build and maintain a clinic situated in a central location, accessible to all the nomadic settlements, that can provide the necessary basic medical help needed by this community. It will also provide necessary convalescent facilities. This would benefit:
- Pregnant women and families: increase chances of healthy birth and decrease the time and energy lost due to complications and poor care
- Old people: improve quality of their health care and help ease the burden of families caring for them
- Children: increase the chances of a disease-free childhood as well as decrease the burden on women to care for the children who are sick
- Adults: ensure prompt and appropriate medical care in the case of injury and sickness
What has been accomplished so far
This project was proposed by the nomads who agree that a clinic would be of immeasurable benefit to the community. Local doctors (there are several, but only one is actively practising) are eager to get involved, and herders are willing to provide the land for free. The people in the area are willing to volunteer to help with construction and maintenance of the building.
The leader of this project, Lama Tenzin Dakpa, comes from the area and has many relatives living there still, including members of his immediate family.
Dr. Joe Lukezich, a recently retired Canadian physician, has made a commitment to spend at least one month per year on location to help oversee and provide training where necessary.
At the moment no major community building exists in DhomPa, the population is widely scattered among groups of homesteads and all monasteries are far away. The clinic would be the first building of its type in the area, thus creating a space that invites and provides a focus for community activity is a way that serves the overall health of the community.
The community’s contribution accounts for more than half of the total budget of the clinic: land and unskilled labor. People do not have much, if any, cash to donate, but they are willing to provide considerable support for the project through their labour (e.g., building, repairing, helping with unskilled work, bringing food, helping with patients who are relatives). They are also committed to helping to maintain the clinic once it has been built. These are significant contributions by the people, especially since they have so little.