Since the Mountain Trust began working in Nepal we have made it our goal to provide medical assistance to those most in need. Over the years we have provided funding for medical procedures for many people who would otherwise have gone without treatment.
Nepal suffers from extremely high infant and maternal mortality rates. Although, according to the UN, Nepal is the 20th poorest country on the planet, infant and maternal mortality rates are still very high in relative terms. Last year an estimated 29,000 children died in their first year of life and around 4000 mothers died in childbirth. Partly because of the lack of education, expectant mothers and their families might not realise how dangerous it can be to give birth in a cow shed - or how vital it can be to seek medical help at the first sign of complications.
In Nepal, healthcare is prohibitively expensive so people avoid seeking help for minor conditions until they become chronic. Even when the condition becomes chronic people rarely have the ability to seek and afford medical care. In remote areas, a patient may have to be carried on another person's back for days to reach even the most basic medical facilities.
The Mountain Trust has developed relationships between hospitals in the UK and Nepal. We work with Addenbrookes Abroad to provide placements for medics in Nepal.
The Mountain Trust paid for this young woman to have a brain tumour removed. It had obscured her eyesight in one eye and was impairing her thinking. The Trust paid for transport and consumables and the staff at Manipal Hospital operated for free.
£200 and hours later, she recovered. The Trust paid for her to be trained in tailoring and bought her a sewing machine. Today she is self-sufficient.
This poor woman suffered major burns to her face and upper torso when her pressure cooker exploded and showered her with boiling oil.
She had no means to afford medical attention until the staff at Manipal Hospital drew her case to our attention and we swiftly agreed to cover the minimal costs of drugs & dressings. The medical staff gave their time for free.
Prem Paryar was badly injured in a road accident and surgeons needed to amputate his lower leg to save him.
Unfortunately he had no means to cover basic costs so the Trust agreed to meet these. The medical staff contributed their time freely.
Another driver lost part of his leg in a road accident and required surgery to amputate his lower left leg.
Once again, the Trust covered the basic costs whilst the medical staff at Manipal gave their time for free. Despite his setback, his life was saved and he continues to be Dad to two rumbustious sons.
Mr Subhedi was severely beaten on the lower vertebrae with a Lathi (a bamboo pole) by security forces whilst demonstrating peacefully for the restoration of democracy in 2006.
As a result he could no longer sit - only stand or lie down and so could no longer earn his living as a driver.
The Trust has paid for MRI scans, consulted the leading neurosurgeon in Kathmandu and taken a second opinion from a Consultant Radiologist at Addenbrooke's, Cambridge.
The Trust has paid for physiotherapy and further medical treatment, whilst sponsoring his two children through school. This way the family can be kept afloat until the sons qualify and can support the family themselves.
One woman in her thirties literally dragged herself by her arms from a remote village to Manipal Hospital for treatment because her six inch long spinal tumor prevented her from using her legs - despite not having any means to pay for treatment. Manipal contacted the Mountain Trust and very soon they had the £200 or so necessary to cover the cost of the consumables (bandages, drugs etc) whilst the staff at Manipal Hospital gave their time. The following day in post-op, she could move one of her legs. She has since made a full recovery.
It was her case that prompted us to think of taking medical care to the patients. This was the genesis of the Land Rover Ambulance project.
We have since agreed a Memorandum of Understanding with Gandaki Medical College to make regular use of the vehicle on health camps. The Trust also uses the ambulance to undertake its own health camps.
The Mountain Trust is working with senior staff at Manipal Teaching Hospital and Addenbrooke's Teaching Hospital, and Addenbrooke's Abroad, which has approved us to help staff volunteer in Nepal, to build bridges between Cambridge and Pokhara.
Because of the time differences between Nepal and the UK, the Trustees have established an emergency fund of 500 pounds to cover the costs of emergency surgery which is to be used at the discretion of the Nepal Mountain Trustees should assistance be required at short notice and without time to gain advance approval for operating from the MT UK.