Nepal remains one of the poorest countries in the world and has been plagued with political unrest and military conflict for the past decade. In 2015, a pair of major earthquakes devastated this small and fragile country.
Since 2008, the Acupuncture Relief Project has provided over 300,000 treatments to patients living in rural villages outside of Kathmandu Nepal. Our efforts include the treatment of patients living without access to modern medical care as well as people suffering from extreme poverty, substance abuse and social disfranchisement.
Common conditions include musculoskeletal pain, digestive pain, hypertension, diabetes, stroke rehabilitation, uterine prolapse, asthma, and recovery from tuberculosis treatment, typhoid fever, and surgery.
35-year-old female presents with multiple bilateral joint pain beginning 18 months previously and had received a diagnosis of…
20-year-old male patient presents with decreased mental capacity, which his mother states has been present since birth. He…
60-year-old female presents with spinal trauma sequela consisting of constant mid- to high grade pain and restricted flexion…
80-year-old male presents with vomiting 20 minutes after each meal for 2 years. At the time of initial…
In the aftermath of the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake, this episode explores the challenges of providing basic medical access for people living in rural areas.
Acupuncture Relief Project tackles complicated medical cases through accurate assessment and the cooperation of both governmental and non-governmental agencies.
Cooperation with the local government yields a unique opportunities to establish a new integrated medicine outpost in Bajra Barahi, Makawanpur, Nepal.
Complicated medical cases require extraordinary effort. This episode follows 4-year-old Sushmita in her battle with tuberculosis.
Drug and alcohol abuse is a constant issue in both rural and urban areas of Nepal. Local customs and few treatment facilities prove difficult obstacles.
Interpreters help make a critical connection between patients and practitioners. This episode explores the people that make our medicine possible and what it takes to do the job.
This episode looks at the people and the process of creating a new generation of Nepali rural health providers.
In this 2011, documentary, Film-maker Tristan Stoch successfully illustrates many of the complexities of providing primary medical care in a third world environment.
The morning sun glitters through the windows and my rhododendron plant stretches its leaves up to reach the light. I put on the kettle and sit down to eat my oatmeal with banana and soymilk, a breakfast poles apart compared to the roti with potato and chickpea curry I'd become accustomed to in Nepal. My city here in Victoria, Canada is famous for its rhododendrons, but the 100-year old plants look like babies in comparison to the rhododendron forests I have just witnessed while trekking through the Annapurna region; truth be told the plants are so bountiful that the local Nepalese verily use them for firewood to supply their wood-burning stoves.
I ended my volunteering experience in the village of Bajrabarahi, Nepal with the Acupuncture Relief Project only four weeks ago now, yet the atmosphere, pace and the patients' faces are still etched in my memory. I have been reflecting on my time in Bajra since returning to Canada and the difference in practitioner-patient dynamics compared to what I typically encounter here in the West. I was fortunate to travel to Nepal and volunteer alongside my husband Gavin, who is also a Registered Acupuncturist and Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner. It was his first visit to Nepal and sharing the work-day with him and the exceptional Nepali practitioners Satyamohan Dangol and Sushila Gurung, intern Sanita Gopali and interpreters and clinic staff Amrita Gopali and Sushila Waiba, was truly a dream-team manifest. Returning to Nepal, for me, after eleven years away from a country where I spent four years of my creative years from age twenty-four to twenty-seven immersed in a BA program in Tibetan Buddhism at Kathmandu University was strangely familiar, yet this time entirely new.
When I arrived in Nepal I was an anxious graduate student fresh out of acupuncture school during the Covid-19 pandemic. Having spent two years practicing medicine over zoom, I was nervous and doubtful about my skills as an acupuncturist. From the moment I arrived, everyone greeted and welcomed me with open arms. Satyamohan, Sushila, and the interpreters made me feel right at home and a part of every conversion. After just a few days with my new ARP family, all my worries melted away and I quickly found my new routine. The clinic is cleverly designed and well stocked, everything I could have needed to treat patients was provided and I was learning at a light years pace. The integration of the lifestyle clinic and neighboring health post is the perfect blend of Eastern and Western medicine. Together they are able to provide the patients with excellent primary care that would otherwise be difficult to obtain. One of the greatest advantages of working with the ARP was the ability to see a patient for 20-30+ visits. Seeing improvement with each treatment and trying different modalities was invaluable and rewarding. During my stay I’ve been able to regulate high blood pressure/sugars, reduce or eliminate complex pain syndromes, and support tremor/stroke rehab just with acupuncture. It blows my mind what few needles and Traditional Chinese Medicine can do.
Ramkrishna’s eyes brightened with recognition as we entered. His room… a small tin shed. A collage of colors and rust patinas cover every surface of the salvaged corrugated metal. Six feet wide and ten feet long, the self-standing structure features one small window which casts a blade of bright light across Ramkrishna’s face. He shares the space with dried corn, broken farming tools and a stack of dried rice sheaves which serves as feed for livestock. A rough pile of filthy blankets outline a sleeping area on the concrete floor. A small well-used tea kettle sits on a ring of partially charred sticks. The remnants of this morning’s cooking fire.
Ramkrishna December 2021, Thaha, Makwanpur, Nepal
Ramkrishna speaks breathlessly with an ominous gurgling in his chest.