Basic Medical Care

ROKPA is supporting existing health care centers and is helping to build new hospitals. Our organization pays salaries for doctors and medical personnel (we pay full salaries or offer part funding depending on urgency). We also support the production of Tibetan herbs as well as buying urgently needed Western medicines.

The projects which ROKPA supports are largely in the rural, sparsely populated areas of the Eastern Tibetan areas of China. Many villages have no streets and are only accessible via gravel roads. Thus, large distances and high costs make access to basic medical care difficult.

Beside food, basic medical care is indispensable for our lives. Tibetan medicine is the traditional form of treatment: people know and accept it, and it is affordable. Tibetan medicine can be applied to a broad range of diseases in an effective and meaningful way.

Depending on their situation, patients pay for treatment, however they are also treated for free if they don’t have enough money. In some cases ROKPA pays for urgently needed visits to hospitals.

Video about ROKPA clinic in the Tibetan highlands

Chunga Lhamo's Clinic in Zatu

Chunga Lhamo is a former ROKPA child that has been supported by ROKPA donors since primary school. After graduating from school she studied Tibetan medicine and is now a practicing doctor. Today she works with disadvantaged people in the region of Zatu (Yushu area), where she grew up. She treats people who are too poor to afford a doctor, medicine or treatments.

Zatu is a small village with around 5,000 inhabitants, with many nomads living nearby. The village lies 4,000 meters above sea level. Chunga Lhamo opened her own practice with the support of ROKPA, to offer basic medical care in this region where such provision is basically non-existent. Doctors working with ROKPA from Europe or Canada provide her with the infrastructure and tools. Once a year doctors from the West travel to Zatu to supply a stock of modern medicine.

How to brush one’s teeth!

The Swiss dentist Antonella Guggenheim spent two weeks in Yushu in the summer of 2012. She trained children and adults in something we consider a simple part of our daily routine: Brushing our teeth!

People who do not brush their teeth are not always lazy, but sometimes just too poor. So poor that they do not even have money to buy a toothbrush. The dentist Antonella Guggenheim spent her stay in Yushu treating children and adults for free in the clinic and instructing them on oral hygiene. "I was constantly surprised by how calm these people were when they described their pain to me with a smile on their face - pain they had been suffering from for years. Because they didn't even have enough money for a toothbrush, they simply lived with the fact without a word of complaint."    

Even though Antonella could not perform her treatments in the manner she was accustomed to in Switzerland, her stay at ROKPA is filled with happy memories: "I received so much gratitude."Now she hopes that she will find a proper dentist's chair, running water, and a suction system during her next visit!