Nueva carrera médica para los Sherpa

El Monte Everest

New medical careers for Sherpas

The Kunde Hospital is the only one in the high Everest isolated region of Nepal. Originally the hospital was run by foreign doctors but the clinic is now staffed and run by the local Sherpa population

Reporter: Joanna Jolly

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Set up in 1966 by Sir Edmund Hillary, Kunde Hospital is at a height of 3, 840 metres. For many of its 8,000 patients, visiting the clinic means walking for hours through high-mountain passes. The hospital is mainly funded by foreign donations and was originally run by doctors from Canada and New Zealand. But for the past ten years, this 12-bed clinic high up in the Himalayas has been staffed by the local Sherpa population. The current doctor, Dr Tsering Wangdi Sherpa, is the third Sherpa doctor to work at the clinic. The first was his father who was provided with a grant from the Sir Edmund Hillary foundation of Canada to train. Dr Tsering says without the hospital, there would be little health care in the Khumbu district.

Dr Tsering: 'It's actually very important to have this hospital because, if you look back at the history - this hospital was built in 1966 - and before that, the health system here was absolutely bad. There was a lot of problems with birth control, immunization, people had a lot of very bad infections, the hygiene was really bad. They had a lot of problems with iodine deficiencies causing cretinism and lots of cases of tuberculosis causing a lot of deaths.'

Dr Tsering says thanks to injections provided by the hospital, problems due to iodine deficiency have been virtually wiped out. The hospital has also improved hygiene in the region and provided family planning services. Dr Tsering says the introduction of Sherpa staff at Kunde Hospital has meant the clinic is able to function more smoothly and no longer needs to rely on translators. He says, because of the hospital, many young people from this impoverished region of Nepal are now looking towards a career in medicine.

Joanna Jolly, BBC News

Listen to the words

is mainly funded by foreign donations recibe sus fondos desde el extranjero

Sherpaindígena de las Himalayas, experto en montañismo

was provided with a granta quien le otorgaron una beca

birth control control de la natalidad/planificación familiar

the hygiene was really badel nivel de higiene era bajo

iodine deficiencies causing cretinismla falta de yodo resultó en cretinismo

tuberculosisla tuberculosis

virtually wiped out prácticamente eliminados

family planning servicesconsejos sobre planificación familiar

no longer needs to rely on translators ya no requiere los servicios de traductores