Headwaters Doctor Aids Rural Health in His Native Nepal

By Dr. Roshan Khatri

Recently, our hospital organized a health camp at a place called Bamti Bhandar, a beautiful but remote location bordering the Everest region. It was a three-day camp where we provided free general health care, dental, ophthalmological and physical therapy services. We also distributed free medicines to the public. It was a huge success – 556 patients turned out in three days, some even walked more than 10 hours to get to the camp.

One interesting story of the camp:  A woman with a baby of around a year came to my table asking for my name. She knew my name but didn’t recognize me. On inquiring why she needed to meet Dr. Roshan, she replied that a year ago she was in labor during the birth of her child, the same baby she was holding, for more than two days at home. They had tried to deliver the baby at home without any medical help but the labor got prolonged, in her own words, “the baby got stuck in the middle.” Desperate, she was carried on men’s backs for 8 hours to Jiri Hospital where I operated on her and saved both her and the baby. 

Upon knowing my identity, she was more than happy to see me and started crying and hugging me. It was not an ordinary moment for me and I can’t express how I felt inside. She was insisting that we come to her house for dinner – a four-hour walk from our camp site. Another long walk we couldn’t afford so we had to happily decline the invitation!

The health post where we worked remains badly damaged from the 2015 earthquake. It is not livable, with patients still under make-shift shelters of plastic and tin sheets. And patients continue to do sometimes unusual self-remedies:  One lady with a green leaf on her left upper eyelid (see photo) came with complaints of excessive flickering of her eyelids. She stuck leaves on her eye to prevent them. Sadly, I couldn’t help her much!