In July 2022 ATMA President Indy Sahota joined Dr. Norboo and the Ladakh Institute of Prevention Team in conducting a medical camp in the Zanskar Valley of Ladakh. The Zanskar Valley is one of the most remote and difficult to reach regions of Ladakh, with poor healthcare infrastructure and access to the district hospital in Leh. Due to the pandemic, Dr. Norboo and team had been unable to reach Zanskar for the past 3 years which meant that conducting this camp was a high priority.
Over the 7 days, working 12-16h a day, we were able to provide comprehensive medical assessments and screening exams for over 220 people. All patients received a full medical assessment, ECG, echocardiogram, blood pressure check, abdominal ultrasound, pulmonary function tests as well as screening blood tests for hepatitis, thyroid issues, diabetes, dyslipidemia and other medical issues. Any medications they required were provided free of charge.
These assessments meant that people in the region not only received the care they need now, but helped identify medical problems at an earlier stage in the hopes that we can prevent them from worsening. When primary healthcare structures are non-existent being able to screen for diseases and initiate treatment early is key in keeping people safe and healthy in the long-term. These ATMA-LIP medical camps across Ladakh do just that. Alongside this we also work with the local government to try and bolster primary healthcare infrastructure so that one day people in these regions of Ladakh receive adequate primary care throughout the year.
We have included some pictures of the camp below. Please note that, as always at ATMA, pictures were taken with consent obtained in the local language.
Finally we would like to thank each and every one of you that contributed to our medical camps this year, whether financially or by sharing our campaign with friends and family. These camps could not happen without your support and so from the bottom of our hearts - thank you.
We at ATMA are delighted to learn that Dr. Tsering Norboo, the physician behind the Ladakh Institute of Prevention, our regional partner in India, was recently award the Padma Shri Award. The Padma Shri was instituted in 1954 and is awarded to Indian citizens in recognition of the distinguished contributions to their fields, including social service and medicine. It is the highest civilian honour in India and we could not be more proud that someone as deserving as Dr. Norboo has won this award. Dr. Norboo has been working tirelessly to improve the health and welfare for the Ladakhi people for over 50 years. Even today, in retirement, he runs regular free medical clinics in Leh so that those who cannot afford medical care are attended to.
We at ATMA are proud to be supporting this man and his organization for all the great work they do.
If you're interested in helping us support Dr. Norboo and the Ladakh Institute of Prevention please consider making a donation via the tab above.
The work of the Ladakh Heart Foundation began serendipitously in 1997 when Lama Chogyal, a monk and the president of the LHF, was stuck in New Delhi while trying to obtain a visa to go to England. He decided to make constructive use of his time by visiting Ladakhi patients who were in Delhi hospitals. This experience taught Lama Chogyal two basic things: (a) many Ladakhi people have preventable heart disease and (b) that it was a jarring and overwhelmingly expensive experience for Ladakhi people to come to Delhi and stumble their way through what was basically a foreign country trying to find medical care for their illnesses.
Lama Chogyal resolved to do something. His first move was to consult with Ladakhi physicians to find out what could be done. He decided that a useful first thing to do would be to purchase large amounts of penicillin and distribute it to villages, along with proper education about rheumatic heart disease (RHD) and strep throat, so that the then prevalent RHD could be prevented by the simple measures of diagnosing and treating strep throat. Since that time, new cases of RHD have almost disappeared from Ladakh.
Next came an outreach health care program to deliver health care to remote villages. Lama Chogyal found the money to purchase a vehicle and equipment, organized the physicians and the program took off and is still running to this day. Then the idea arose to bring cardiologists and heart surgeons to Ladakh from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Dehli – one of India’s premiere medical institutions. Lama Chogyal picked up the phone and for seven years now, AIIMS’s physicians and surgeons have been providing quality medical care to heart patients from all over Ladakh at week long summer clinics in Leh. An average of 300 patients have been seen every summer in these clinics.
Finally, the New Delhi physicians asked Lama Chogyal to construct a hospital here in Leh that would specialize in providing comprehensive cardiac care. Dr. Samphat Kumar, Professor of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery at AIIMS, offered to move to Leh and work full time for the LHF hospital. The government of Ladakh contributed a piece of land. The Dalai Lama, who has been a patron from the very beginning, as well as many others, contributed significant amounts of money, and three years ago, construction began. At this point in time, the hospital building is complete, and funds have been obtained to both finish the electrical and plumbing infrastructure of the building and to purchase furniture.
The LHF has now expanded it’s role. In addition to running a fully-functioning hospital, it provides mobile health education and treatment camps throughout the district of Ladakh. It also operates a coffee shop in the tourist district of Leh, profits from which help support LHF activities. We at ATMA have been involved with the LHF since 2012 and continue to support the great work they do.
We encourage you to watch this documentary on the Ladakh Heart Foundation and the great work they are doing to help the people of the Indian Himalayas!