Yes, the place that we have called Legon Clinic has a beautifully descriptive name: The Impartial Loving Health Center of Za Legnang Monastery.
This place, tucked into the valley by a river in the Himalayan Mountains, is now a refuge for many people seeking help for illnesses - some very severe. We know that the Chinese medical doctor, his wife/nurse, and the Tibetan doctor have seen thousands of people in the first year of this Center's existence. Having received few details of actual numbers treated or of diseases treated, we do know that women have delivered babies there, that families have brought in ill babies and children, and that men and women of all ages are showing confidence in the services given. Your generous donations through Bodhi Seeds make it all possible.
The following pictures give us some feeling of the conditions and the treatments given.
We have in mind to continue to focus on the needs of women, especially during childbearing years. This has been an extremely neglected area exemplified by the ongoing high mortality rate of women and babies during childbirth.
Based on many, many peoples' experiences before us, we at Bodhi Seeds hold these aspirations: help to promote health literacy and treatment at the clinic and to difficult to reach mothers and children through the use of mobile camps, and apps; continue to work with Amjis (traditional Tibetan doctors) who are the front line contact for health in the community; find methods to improve clinic's medical data collection.
Knowing that this may take generations, Bodhi Seeds welcomes anyone who is knowledgeable and/or supports this endeavor. Thank you for your understanding, confidence, compassion, and generosity.
Incrementally, we are making progress. News of the Legon clinic has been spreading. Families in the region are taking advantage of the clinic's safer environment for maternal and child care.
The pictures below are just some of those helped by the doctors and staff. Happy birthday kids! Congratulations parents and families!
Tuberculosis is a problem in any congregate setting. A monastery like Rumtek is a crowded place and in winter has little ventilation. When someone coughs, aerosol droplets persist for some time making infection with tuberculosis more likely. This is especially the case when we have people with undiagnosed and untreated infections.
Monks travel and sometimes have difficulty in completing medication regimes which can be very complicated when it comes to tuberculosis. Interrupted treatments create an opportunity for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.
Sikkim, the state where Rumtek is found, has one of the highest number of cases of TB in India. The state also has one of the highest proportions of drug resistant tuberculosis.
The North East Region Bio Technology Programmme Management Cell (NER-BPMC), Department of Biotechnology in collaroration with Revised National Tuberculosis Program (RNTCP), Government of Sikkim and International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotenchnology (ICGEB), New Delhi has proposed that Tso Jey Clinic nurses, doctor and staff be a part of the research planned to discover why this population is susceptible to tuberculosis and particularly drug resistant tuberculosis. The monastic population would be screened and treated in ways never before possible.
We are hoping that this proposal goes forward and that we will see an end to multi-drug resistant tuberculosis in Rumtek.
May, 2016 Susan and I went back to Rumtek after six years. We needed to reconnect and see how things were being managed at the clinic.
The vibe was definitely different. First of all, it was the time of the Vajrakalya Puja, 10 days of intense, I mean intense practice from morning into the wee hours of the morning. The great advantage for us was that all the major parties with authority to accomplish activities in Rumtek were present: Khenpo Nyima Kelsong, Umdze Lhodro, Umdze Bai Karma, Amji Drubju, Karma Dolma, Doctor Deeraj, Sister, General Secretary Karma Chungyalpa.
We met and found common ground. The clinic needed an administrator who oversaw daily activities, made sure hours were being kept, inventories maintained, medicines efficiently and economically purchased, equipment maintained, medical refuse disposed of appropriately, staff well trained.
For six years I had been thinking about how to begin a training program for monks interested in health care. Spontaneously, in meeting with the Labrang, we all landed on the same idea. There would be three monks, two from the shedra and one from the monastery who would be trained to be community health workers and administrators of the clinic. Kelsang Nyamgal, a recent grad of a medical training program, and intimately knowledgeable about the workings of Rumtek, would be our trainer for six months. He would meet each week to train the monks in administration, first aid, outreach and CPR.
We'll be in touch to let you know how things are progressing.
We also wanted to check in on the cases of tuberculosis we had reported on last year. New cases are still being diagnosed. The clinic needs support in managing the cases. It's very difficult to make sure all patients receive their medications, including inoculations of antibiotics. Close contacts all have to be tested, records of all these interactions carefully maintained to prevent spread of the disease. Our presence gave great hope to the young patients who were losing hope as their opportunities to advance in school were held up until their treatment progressed.
It's easy to build a clinic. It's infinitely harder to see that it's running well and serves the needs of the community. That takes dedicated people on the ground, and dedicated people all over the world to support its goal-making health care accessible to Rumtek.
The earlier post below details what is needed. Please consider a monthly donation to keep things going.
Just had to add this post today with pictures received this morning from Legon. Pictures really do speak clearly here.
Our doctors from the clinic and community health care workers go into the villages to give infants their first vaccinations against common childhood diseases. It's a great relief to see that donations have been translated into this very tangible measure that helps make children much safer in their start on life.