Home Features No worry: Hospital along Everest trail
November 14, 2022

No worry: Hospital along Everest trail

  • Bikram Giri

Phakding (Solukhumbu):  Mount Everest, the highest snow peak in the world, is located in the Khumbu region of Pasanglhamu Rural Municipality.

Domestic and foreign tourists flock here every day to kiss and closely observe the 8,848.86-meter-high mountain. The highest mountains including Everest are also here.

The number of mountain climbers and trekkers is increasing every year. For this, some people walk from Lukla, and some use helicopters. But everyone has the same problem along the way, where to go for immediate treatment if the health condition deteriorates?

Due to the lack of a reliable system of treatment, tourists are very sick. Tourists and locals are forced to die due to a lack of treatment. When they are sick, they depend on the general hospitals of Namche and Lukla.

There are many examples of patients dying on the way because they had to walk for hours. Now the situation seems to have changed. This week, a 15-bed hospital has been put into operation in Phakding, Pasanglhamu Rural Municipality-3, Khumbu.

Skilled doctors have been arranged here along with the hospital. A hospital has been built in Phakding, located between Lukla and Namche, in an area of ​​three ropani.  The hospital has 40 rooms.

The main investor of the hospital is Phurwa Galgen Sherpa, managing director of Heli Everest Pvt Ltd. He is also the president of the Himalayan Sherpa Foundation. Sherpa also has a hotel business. Seeing the condition of the patient, Sherpa’s heart was burning.

The condition of the locals was miserable. In case of illness, domestic and foreign tourists were forced to abandon their destination on the way. As the funds were being collected, Sherpa’s mind turned towards establishing a foundation. Along with his wife and daughter, he established the Himalayan Sherpa Foundation.

Along with this, Sherpa added 15 plantations in Phakding in the name of the Jagga Foundation. A hospital has been built on that land. “In the beginning, I started depositing 10 dollars a day in the account of the foundation”, he said, “Later I managed to deposit up to 100 dollars in the account.”Hundreds of Nepalis abroad as well as Sherpa people supported the foundation.

Seven years ago, the Sherpas started building a hospital in an area of ​​three ropanis with the money collected in this way. There are hospitals in Lukla and Namche on the Everest trail. But both of those hospitals are not fully equipped.

Patients with complex diseases cannot be treated. They have to charter a helicopter and return to Kathmandu for treatment.  “Most of the tourists who visit Nepal are of medium economic status”, says Sherpa, “They don’t want to spend a lot of money and risk their lives on the trek.” It is almost impossible to treat local and domestic tourists by chartering a helicopter.

It takes four hours to reach Phakding from Lukla. It takes seven to eight hours for patients to reach Lukla Hospital. “There are many cases of patients who went to Lukla for treatment dying on the way,” said Kanchi Phuti Sherpa, vice president of the Himalayan Sherpa Foundation. The Himalayan Sherpa Hospital currently has permission for only 15 beds.

Owner Sherpa says that there is a plan to add more beds in the future. “I have arranged free treatment for the locals”, he said.  Sherpa is also a member of the Nepal Tourism Board. When he was on the board, he brought the budget and worked on development aimed at tourists. The government is not interested in building a hospital in this area.

But Sherpa advises everyone not to depend on government agencies for everything. “If we try to do something ourselves, why depend on the government?” He has no complaints about the government agencies for not helping to build the hospital.

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