In January 2015, Himalayan Medics and NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute (WMI) partnered to provide a Wilderness First Responder course (WFR) in Kathmandu, Nepal. This course provided medical training to prepare the medics for the unexpected injuries and accidents that can arise while trekking and traveling in Nepal. The newly-trained WFR graduates did not expect to need their skills to help their communities after the twin earthquakes on April 25 and May 12, 2015 struck Nepal.
The lead instructor for the WFR course, WMI instructor Anna Horn, said that “Himalayan Medics has been working hard in the wake of the Nepali earthquake to provide care and supplies to populations in need,” transporting both supplies and medics to the hardest-hit regions of the country.
The founder and managing director of Himalayan Medics, Dr. Nima Namgyal Sherpa, contacted NOLS soon after the second earthquake, telling how he was in the Mt. Everest base camp at the time, “in the middle of the worst places and luckily survived…”
Rather than rest after surviving his own ordeal, Dr. Nima and Himalayan Medics Executive Director Rajesh Lama returned to Kathmandu to aid those affected by the earthquakes. Dr. Nima writes of the work of Himalayan Medics: “we have been aiding in providing relief supplies for immediate support in different affected areas...Since this is only temporary support, we are now focusing on different ways to help the community which can actually empower them for the days and months ahead to survive through the monsoon from providing shelter, medical supplies, education and awareness on health, hygiene, sanitation and basic first aid training to select places...”
Thanks to their extensive training, the technical skills gained through the WFR course, and their own self-reliance and leadership, Himalayan Medics was able to provide aid as first responders, and will continue to provide aid in communities for the long rebuilding process to come. It’s impossible to know how or when medical skills will be needed, but these medics certainly performed with competence and bravery when the unexpected struck.
Learn more about the work of Himalayan Medics on their website.
Molly is a NOLS instructor and writer. She loves the smell of her backpack and does her best writing before 7:00 am. When she's not scouting the next post for the NOLS Blog, she's running and climbing on rocks in Wyoming. Follow her on Instagram @mgherber