I visited India in November and did some volunteer work for Child Family Health International. I’ve done so before in Bhutan and South Africa, as Nancy knows. CHFI’s primary mission is to place health science students in areas of medical need to enable them to gain experience while supplying crucial health delivery services to underserved populations.
The organization runs clinics under the moniker of ChildCare where they have medical volunteers from all over the world conduct pediatric health assessment and women’s health/reproductive health clinics in underserved regions. While in India, we did clinics in a remote region in the far north near the Tibetan/Chinese border called the Nubra Valley. The valley itself is at 12,000 feet. We started out in the city of Leh, and we traveled over the Khardung La pass which, at 18,300 feet, is the highest motorable pass in the world. It was quite a journey! We were also delivering a new mammography machine to the subdistrict hospital in Diskit. It is the only hospital for about a 500 square mile region and the only mammography machine in the area. Previously, patients would have had to travel to Leh over the Khardung La for this service.
After hearing Nancy’s story, our team decided the machine should be named Nancy. We obtained some sticky labels and have spelled “NANCY” across the base of the machine. Nancy had a rough ride over the pass and a tough landing, but our Australian radiographer was able to recalibrate it and get it up and running for the first women’s clinic. One of the nurses in the group from Vancouver Island made all of we men in the group have pictures taken with our heads between the mammography plates since “everyone knows that all men are boobs anyway”! I hope to get some of those pictures soon to share (well – maybe not!!).
It was an amazing trip and a wonderful way to acknowledge Nancy in a foreign land. She is now doing great work 12 and a half time zones away! We’re not allowed to take pictures in the clinics themselves for privacy purposes, but I will try to send along some photos of children on the hospital grounds that we had seen in the clinic.
Women in Diskit dressed up in their fineries to welcome us to the subdistrict hospital. They were also seen in the women’s health clinic, and a the second from the right was the first recipient of a mammogram from Nancy.
Buddhist temple in a town called Sumar where they lit candles for Nancy’s recovery.