based in Ventura, California
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Rebecca Gaal is a humanitarian photographer, painter, illustrator, writer and student of International public health studies. She is devoted to examining healthcare issues and...
The close of a successful expedition exploring connections between environment and human health prompts further research on how to help those deeply effected in the high mountains of Nepal.
Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, and the poorest in Asia after Afghanistan. Twenty five percent of the population live below the poverty line, and the average annual income is below $700 USD. To make matters worse, in April of 2015, Nepal was hit by a devastating earthquake, and reconstruction has been seriously hampered by political infighting.
This was my second year joining a group of clinicians to serve in the poorest and most rural areas in the Himalayas.
Dolpo has a fifty percent infant mortality rate and twenty five percent maternal mortality rate. Village health clinics are rarely utilized, and health care workers are few in this region. Dolpo’s remoteness, material poverty, and lack of medical care has made it an important area to bring aid.
More then 100 Nepalis and Westerners walked over 140 miles in five weeks across terrain ranging from 6,600' to 17,600', and saw over 900 patients in five clinics, and numerous smaller trail-side clinics.The team distributed 1,000 toothbrushes, and offered basic healthcare education. We did vision testing and gave out 600 reading glasses for vision acuity improvement, as well as 600 sunglasses to help prevent eye damage from the sun. We brought a portable ultra-sound unit and were able to do cardiac evaluations as well as pregnancy checks. Over 500 hundred Little Sun solar lights were donated to households in Dolpo, where they are invaluable in communities suffering from indoor pollution from yak dung fires, which cause pulmonary and eye disease. The team was also able to donate medicines and diagnostic devices to Dunai Hospital and other health posts on the trail and a number of diagnostic devices were given to one of our Nepali Health Workers for use in the Gorkha area effected by the earthquake.
For more information on our journey, outcomes, plans going forward or photo stories please send a personal message. Rebgaal@gmail.com