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The Himalayan Rescue Association Nepal has been organizing a temporary health camp at Gosainkunda during Janaipurnima festival for the last ten years to provide health care services to the pilgrims. Gosainkunda situated at an altitude of 4,380 m. is a very famous religious place. 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 in August 9, 2006, HRA organized a heath camp at Gosainkunda where 5 member medical team including 3 doctors provided health services to patients.
The HRA health camp provided medical facilities to about 600 patients this year. Among them, 20 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 were also found hypothermia, pneumonia sprain & injury, diahrea, common cold, cuts, rashes, alcohol problems Gastritis etc.
HRA not only treating the patients but also disseminating the information about altitude sickness by distributing the brochures written about Gosainkunda and AMS to the pilgrims so as to make them fully aware about the problems at high altitude.
Likewise, HRA organized a lecture programme for Bhaktapur and Madhyapur Thimi people on August 1, 2006 (Shrawan 16, 2063) to provide them information about altitude sickness. Total 150 people from Bhaktapur and 45 from Madhyapur Thimi participated in the programme. This programme was coordinated by Mr. Kumar Ranabhat, Vice Chairman, HRA.