By Nisheeta Jagatani
Since its inauguration in 2006, Dzongsar Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö Institute (DKCLI) has become an integral part of the surrounding communities. The institute is located in the foothills of the beautiful Dhauladhar range of the Himalayan mountains in Himachal Pradesh, close to the town of Chauntra. The Tibetan settlement near Chauntra houses two Tibetan schools and a home for the elderly. Several other small villages surround Chauntra; the primary occupation of the villagers is agriculture.
DKCLI has an on-campus medical clinic, supported by Khyentse Foundation, with a full time nurse and visiting doctors who are on site twice a week. The clinic serves the primary and preventive health care needs of the monks and nearby villagers. An average of 657 visitors come each month with a variety of ailments such as colds, flu, and gastric and respiratory problems. They are also invited to an annual dental camp held at the clinic for the monks’ dental health and hygiene. The clinic has recently invested in a computer and system to properly document and maintain patient records.
From November 11 to 17, 2013, Khyentse Foundation India organized a free medical camp at the institute for the second consecutive year. Free consultation and medicines were provided to a total of 488 patients suffering from ailments such as influenza, colds, diarrhea, and asthma.
“Based on the success of Khyentse Foundation’s medical week held last year, many villagers returned this year,” said Dr. Abhishek Sharma, the doctor in charge. “This year we saw more children, women, and senior citizen patients.”
As the word spread, groups of elderly Tibetans from the neighboring villages as well as students from TCV School Chauntra took advantage of the medical camp. Several villagers traveled quite a long distance to seek treatment. “I heard that you are giving us good quality medicines,” said Ashok Ram, a rural farmer. “That is why I took a bus with my grandson to treat him here. He is 5 years old and is suffering from a dry cough.”
Because the medical camp has proven to be very beneficial to the Indian and Tibetan communities, KF India intends to continue funding the initiative in the coming years.
Related Story: Update on DKCLI Clinic