A Clinic Out in Nomad Country
After years of wishing and planning, a medical clinic for nomads has been given the go-ahead and funding, a joint effort of Kilung Jigme Rinpoche, a Kilung volunteer doctor, and the local Sershul County Health Department. It will be built where it’s needed most—out in nomad territory—to serve the three Dzachuka tribes of Kilung, Gemang, and Gegong. The clinic will be located near Kilung Monastery in Kilung Valley, an offshoot of the larger Dzachu Valley. Families of this region rarely have been able to travel the distance to Sershul town for medical attention, nor do they speak Chinese, nor have much cash for fees. This clinic will be especially adapted for the population, in language, culture, location, and affordable fees—or free to those who need.
The clinic will be staffed by a full-time doctor, whose salary will be provided in part by the county health department. The department will also provide annual supplies of medicine, and will help in the search for a fully trained physician. Plans for the small clinic include four rooms: examination, injections, storage of medicines and equipment, and a residence for the doctor. Funding for the initial 100 sq-ft exam room are being provided by the county health department.
Dr. Dondrup Tso, a volunteer for Kilung from China, has been working with Kilung Rinpoche on this project for several years, beginning with an overall plan, developing lists of needed medicines, and engaging in the discussions at the health department. She has gained first-hand experience by volunteering as a physician at Kilung, treating and vaccinating nomads and monastics there. Along with Kilung Rinpoche, Dr. Dondrup Tso introduced UNICEF-developed public health education in Tibetan language to Kilung children. She will continue to take the lead as a liaison with the health department, and to volunteer at the clinic. The clinic will provide a platform for other medical volunteers to lend a hand, as well.
Another partner assisting Kilung Rinpoche in local Dzachuka health issues has been the Dr. James Heinritz of the Dorje Foundation which has provided many medicines to Kilung Monastery and community.