Rural Medical Camps

a story how a team started a medical camp with the intention to help as amany people as possible who otherwise would have not received care,

Medical camps have been running in partnership with the villages of Bupsa and Bumburi attract local people from miles around, many of whom walk for many hours and often days to attend the camps. These medical camps are led by Nepalese professionals who are assisted by qualified volunteers and medical and dentistry students from the UK.

The long and expensive journey to the hospitals in Laksha and Kathmandu (sometimes taking days) are out-of-reach for the majority living in these low-income communities. Their main source of income is from subsistence farming and small profits are often shared throughout the community. So as you can imagine, when word gets out that these clinics are nearby, villagers flock to them in the hope of securing a cure for their health issues.

There are currently no permanent doctors in the region, which is home to a large, ethnically diverse population, spread over a number of rural communities made up of low income households. People lack access to basic health care and specialist treatment and have to walk for many days to attend the nearest hospital or else take the long and expensive journey to Kathmandu. The medical camps provide free consultation, treatment and advice from specialist qualified doctors as well as access to free medication. The goal is to one day provide the communities in these remote Himalayan villages with permanent medical care and qualified staff, rather than a temporary clinic run from an outbuilding of Bupsa’s monastery.

The group that started the initiative were limited to leftover equipment from the previous clinics and a small amount of supplies that they carried in with them.  One of the most common problems witnessed were musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). MSDs are a widely spread problem facing porters and farming communities who endure hard physical labour day-in-day-out. Muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments and nerves can all be affected, causing discomfort to intense pain. The reduction of these disorders caused through employment is a key objective of the EU through its Community Strategy, proving just how fortunate we are to benefit from accessible healthcare.

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What a wonderful job you’re doing. Having experience in the health system we know how frustating can be to see how people can suffer and die from deseases that could be trated. What can be done in order to make these communities sustein themselves?!

Add on kit ideas

I’ve worked on/brooded over some things that may be helpful in connection to this.

  1. A minimal self-diagnosis kit, that can be extended by modules. The basic version would be perhaps something like “where there is no doc/dentist” in an adapted audiobook format. This would not require literacy and could be provided via extremely cheap mp3 player (sell for <1 USD) + memory card (2-3 USD for library size) + minimal solar charger to trickle charge the battery (1-5 USD).

Next step up would be a recording function, a sampling kit, and a photo kit. Next step from that would be a full smartphone with some diagnostic hardware. The smartphone would be important to catch many of the cognitive bias pitfalls associated with self-diagnosis*. But both these could be intermittently provided via a long range drone delivery:

  1. The drone would pick up samples and could do deliveries, and could intermittently cover a very large region. Its visit frequency would probably be limited mostly by charge time of the electric drive via solar (needs approx 1kWh for a 100 km flight with 3 kg payload). I’ve made two low budget rugged versions with slightly different concept of operations here

and here

@jahn perhaps also interesting for you.

*some context I found interesting on self-diagnosis

Of course part of why I found it interesting is because it is an unrepresentative outlier. But still, outliers show potential.

If you contrast that with the wikipedia entry on self diagnosis, which say things like:

“One of the greatest dangers of self diagnosis in psychological syndromes, is that you may miss a medical disease that masquerades as a psychiatric syndrome. Self-diagnosis also undermines the role of the doctor-which is not the best way to start the relationship. Then there is the fact that we can know and see ourselves, but sometimes, we need a mirror to see ourselves more clearly. By self-diagnosing, you may be missing something that you cannot see. Another danger of self diagnosis is that you may think that there is more wrong with you than there actually is. Self-diagnosis is also a problem when you are in a state of denial about your symptoms.”

I have to say it seems like there is something rotten in the state of Denmark. How much research money gets spent on improving methods of self diagnonsis exactly?

Not much it seems:

Pubs since 2015 Google Scholar

Pubs overall Google Scholar