HEALTH CARE PROJECTS: RURAL COMMUNITY CLINIC & HEALTH CARE OUTREACH

The critical need for improvements in the availability of rural (primary) health care in impoverished areas of the world has been well documented (click here and search "rural health care" for information.) 

The Blue Valley Foundation has begun its first fund raising efforts to help build a traditional Community Health Care Clinic in Golog State. The quality and accessibility of healthcare at the village level, where about 80% of Tibetans still live, is much poorer than at the municipal level.

The high cost of healthcare, even where facilities do exist, is a principal limiting factor for access – particularly in rural areas.  In these heavily agrarian areas, as many as 50 percent of farmers who fall ill do not seek healthcare for economic reasons, and half of all children who die in rural areas had not received medical treatment. Access and distance to hospitals is another major limiting factor for rural Tibetans seeking care.  Township health centers and county hospitals are located at considerable distance from the villages causing many families to not seek health care or wait until an illness is critical before seeking help.  The establishment of an accessible village health clinic eases the need to resettle nomads and disrupt their lives. The Qinghai Gesar Foundation aims to bring medical clinic services to them instead. As nomads choose to continue pursuing lifestyle patterns which have been integral to their way of life for millennia, we make every effort to support that choice. With proper planning and effort, medical care and education can be brought to nomads even in the most remote regions.

In partnership with the Qinghai Gesar Foundation, which has already provided medicines and care to thousands of underserved Tibetan people for decades, we are in the initial planning stages of building a 35 room clinic on 7 acres of donated land.  The Rural Community Health Care Clinic and Outreach will serve a minimum of 10,000 people each year with a combination of traditional Tibetan Medicines and allopathic (Western) medicines and treatment. Traditional medical care will be our emphasis. Most of the Tibetan medicines are locally sourced and easily attainable. The clinic will be able to treat up to 45 in-patients at a time and provide consultation and treatment to many more each day.  Our clinic will provide cost effective, linguistically and culturally appropriate health care service to local population and nomads who have only limited access to medical care in their areas.

The health for Tibetans in rural Qinghai province is among the most critical in all of China. The clinic will focus on the 5 major causes of death in rural areas, which are infant and maternal mortality (death during childbirth), gastro-intestinal disease, respiratory illness, and infectious diseases. These will be the primary foci of services at the community medical clinic.

A salient need for rural Tibetans is community health education and outreach. With special emphasis on women, maternal and infant care, we can make a difference in the lives of people who commonly face infant mortality and who lack basic access to preventative medicine, such as immunizations.  By providing knowledge of the role that good personal hygiene and proper nutrition play in limiting disease we can help stem the tide of preventable illness.  Such outreach will be a key feature of the proposed clinic. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

In an effort to make every donated dollar multiply in its beneficial use, all donations will be matched by the Qinghai Gesar Foundation, which will supply all staff, furnishings, hospital beds, medical equipment, as well as training for 6 Tibetan Doctors. Comprehensive services include healthcare outreach to the elderly and families in outlying areas, as well as provision of vital services to the newly established Multi-Disciplinary Vocational School.

The Qinghai Gesar Foundation is especially interested in bringing mobile eye clinics to treat the hundreds of local people suffering from cataracts or other vision problems that are treatable. 80 percent of those people who are blind could see again if they received proper treatment.  To regain one's sight not only increases the quality of life but makes possible the functional capacity to remain independent within the community. 

A great advantage of working with Qinghai Gesar Foundation is its founding Director: Hungkar Dorje Rinpoche.  His decades of commitment, existing ties to the community and role as unofficial diplomat to the state and Prefectural governments put him in a unique position to successfully oversee the building and management of the clinic. Rinpoche has overseen the building of many local improvements during the last 15 years. These include the newly constructed Multi-Disciplinary Vocational School for 600 nomadic young adults, which opened in 2009.

A MODEL FOR PRIMARY HEALTH CARE
AND SUCCESS ON THE TIBETAN PLATEAU

Do-ngak Dronme, aged 12, lives at home with his parents, a young sister and their 2 year old brother in the rural Amdo Region of Tibet. Though distant from Golog or Gande County, this study serves as an illustration of the positive effects a local health care clinic could have made.

Do-ngaks father came to Amdo as a beggar but has done well by community standards. He and his family own sheep and a few yaks and live in a traditionally painted yurt (Nomadic tent) high on the grasslands of the local mountain range. By the time Do-ngak was 8 his parents noticed that he was not growing taller and that he bruised easily and seemed listless but they did not know what to do.  With no health education of their own or access to community health outreach – Do-ngak’s family did not know that a simple vitamin D supplement, a more adequate diet, and improved cleanliness could have saved their son from rickets and a life of pain caused by a severely curved spine. Fortunately for Do-ngak’s siblings they will not have to undergo the same sufferings as their older brother due to the outreach of the new village school’s health education department and access to a recently built clinic in the nearby village.



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Your donations are urgently needed to support our efforts to provide a rural community clinic and health care outreach. Thank you!



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