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The Himalayan Rescue Association Nepal (HRA) has been organizing a temporary free health camp at Gosainkunda during Janaipurnima festival for the last eleven years to provide health care services to the pilgrims. Gosainkunda a famous religious place is situated at an altitude of 4,380 m. Thousands of pilgrims from different parts of the country visit this sacred place during Janaipurnima to take a holy deep into the lake every year.
As Gosainkunda is located at high altitude region and pilgrims have the tendency of ascending fast. Many pilgrims are very prone to acute mountain sickness (AMS). Pilgrims are not aware of the symptoms of AMS and other mountain hazards. They do not think that they are going to suffer from altitude illness, rather they feel that they have committed sin in their life that is causing sickness. With this superstitious belief, they try harder their attempt to visit Gosainkunda lake at any cost. As they do not pay attention to the symptoms of AMS (basically they ignore the symptoms) and keep going up higher, which cause them become very sick and some time may die. In this view, HRA operates a temporary health camp to help pilgrims at Gosainkunda during Janaipurnima festival every year.
This year, the medical responsibilities were given to three health related organizations. The first health camp was organized by Nepal Army at Cholangpati, second one by Jana Swasthya team at Lauribina and HRA Medical Team worked entirely at Gosainkunda. As Gosainkunda management Committee has specially requested us to organize the health camp longer than previous years, HRA team reached Gosainkunda on 4th Shrawan, 2065 (13.8.2008) one day ahead than usual and started working from the same day. Therefore, the medical team worked at Gosainkunda continuously for four days (day & night). The HRA health camp was lead by Vice Chairman Mr. D.B. Koirala.
The HRA health camp provided medical facilities to about 600 patients this year. Among them, 9 were seriously ill and helped them to bring down to lower altitude. Besides altitude illness cases (AMS, High Altitude Cerebral Edema, High Altitude Pulmonary Edema), other medical problems such as Hypothermia, Pneumonia Sprain & Injury, Diarohea, Common Cold, Cuts, Rashes, Alcohol Problems, Gastritis, Asthma, Conjunctivitis and Dog Bite etc. were seen at our health camp at Gosainkunda.
HRA not only treating the patients but also disseminate the information about altitude sickness by distributing the brochures written about Gosainkunda and AMS to the pilgrims.
Likewise, HRA organized a talk programme for the people of Bhaktapur, Madhyapur Thimi and Lalitpur on August 8, 2008 (2065.4.24) to provide them information about altitude sickness and Gosainkunda trek. Mr. Gobinda Bashyal and Dr. Matiram Pun gave a slide presentation to the participants at three places and 50 people from Bhaktapur Municipality, 40 from Madhyapur Thimi Municipality and 25 from Lalitpur Municipality participated in the programme. This programme was coordinated by Mr. Kumar Ranabhat, Secretary General, HRA. HRA organized a press meet on the same day at 4 PM at the HRA Office, Lazimpat, Kathmandu.