Fourteen years have elapsed since the Himalayan Rescue Association Nepal (HRA) started proding the pilgrims information about altitude related sicknesses and medical services at Gosaikunda.
As usual, HRA organized a free health camp at Gosaikunda in August 2012. The famous pilgrimage site is located at an elevation of 4,380 meters above sea level.
The association has been organizing such a medical camp o a regular basis between Ekadashi and Janaipurnima festival when thousands of pilgrims and trekkers visit Gosaikunda to take a holy dip in the lake.
This year, a seven members team of volunteer doctors and support staff provided health services at Gosaikunda. At Dhunche, the district headquarters of Rasuwa, the team also distributed more than 2,000 brochures to the pilgrims before they ascended to the lake. They read the brochures an became fully aware about the signs and symptoms of altitude related illnesses.
Most of the pilgrims have not been found to be aware of the symptoms of the Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). They may suffer from AMS, but they feel that they have committed sins and became ill. With such superstitious beliefs, they try harder their attempt to reach Gosaikunda at any cost. As they do not take care of their health, they ignore the symptoms of AMS and climb up faster. This may ultimately lead them to death.
Some young people believe that the consumption of garlic, mountain pepper, ginger, lemon, hashish, alcoholic drinks, among others, help them walk faster without any problem. They consume and climb up with a feeling of competition. Due to their unawareness, some of them get severely ill.
Some prilgrims make the whole trip from Dhunche to Gosaikunda in one day and suffer from complications of AMS or High Altitude Pulmonary Edema and High Altitude Cerebral Edema or both.
Keeping these aspects in mind, HRA operates a temporary medical camp at Gosaikunda during the festival of Janaipurnima each year.
The team left the HRA Headquarters on July 25, 2012 and returned to the capital on August 4 this year.
This year, HRA medical team provided medical facilities to more than 800 patients. Of them, 10 were seriously ill and were rescued and taken to lower altitude.
The Number of Patients (2006 – 2012)
|Year||Number of Patients|
Meanwhile, in order to give information about high altitude sickness and the sacred pilgrimage site of Gosaikunda to the people of Bhaktapur and Madhyapur Thimi. HRA organized separate awareness proprammes there prior to the festival of Janaipurnima.