Tibet Foundation

ATT - Field Trip to Sershul - Taken from TF Newsletter 45.

Dec 15, 2004

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ATT - Field Trip to Sershul

As programme coordinator of Aid to Tibet, David Kelly made a field trip to Sershul in April 2004. This article looks back on the benefits of the Sershul County Health Initiative and charts the dramatic transformation of a remote hospital through renovation and new buildings. Aid to Tibet, in partnership with Dr Tsetop and Dr Jorgha, has much to be proud of. In the past four years some 1893087 CNY has flowed into SCHI, this is equivalent to almost £160,000. The Sershul County Health Initiative is a series of Aid to Tibet programmes developing an existing Tibetan Medical Hospital Facility, using local knowledge and expertise, in Kandze Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province. The 3 year pilot project began in Summer 2001. The three year budget was €225,146; 50% of which is being met by the European Union's Directorate General for Development. The medical production centre we built is now expanding the sales of its medicines across the region Students are now taking their training into the field with the application of theory into practice. SCHI has been a significant step towards improving the health of the people. It uses the abundance of natural medical resources available locally to sustain the self-sufficiency of Tibetan medicine in Sershul. The four main impacts have been: o Construction and renovation to develop the Tibetan Medicine production facility in Sershul Tibetan Hospital. o Poverty alleviation plan by means of nomads and poor households collecting medicinal plants as a source of income. o Supported a medical school, training 66 students from rural communities within the county in the use of Tibetan and Western medicines, the proceeds of medicine sales will be used to sustain this training. The students will now be integrated into the county health system. o Provided increased access to affordable medicine. Provide better rural access to medical care. Summary of Achievement Reported by Sershul Tibetan Hospital 2001- 2004 Staff In addition to Dr. Tsetop, Vice-Director of the Hospital and Principal of the School, there are 16 doctors employed here, all qualified in Traditional Tibetan Medicine with 2 qualified in Western Medicine. Furthermore the hospital has an accountant, a cashier and 2 drivers (with 2 jeeps). Education and Skill improvements. All 66 students from rural communities have gained a lot from the project. In addition to this, since the TF's Project started many other students have benefited from lessons in Medicine, in Tibetan, Chinese, English etc. Income of the TTM Hospital. Prior to Tibet Foundation's project, the income of the TTM Hospital was between 30000 CNY - 40,000CNY, but since the TF's project started the annual income is between 200,000CNY - 300,000 CNY. A tenfold increase. The Total over the three years is 760,000 CNY. (The exchange rate has been approximately 12 CNY to £1) Improvement of the Medicine Production Center and Hospital. TF has invested 280,000 CNY in construction and renovation. Before TF’s project the TTM Hospital had only one machine and could produce 20 - 30 types of Medicine, 300 to 400 Gyamma per Month. TF bought a total machinery set and the staff has all been paid by the TF. At the moment the Medicine Production Center is producing 300 Gyamma daily. (one gyamma = half kilo), with almost 200 different TT medicines being produced, dried, and packed for transport. In the Dispensary there are around 150 different TT medicines in stock, some obtained from Chengdu and others from Dartsedo and Derge, but the vast majority are originated from Sershul with a total of 2018 recognized medicinal herbs on the list. The number of herbs used to prepare one medicine may vary between 1 and 174. Three female doctors are serving patients here, with 4 years of training in the TTM School at Dartsedo. The benefit to the nomadic people. Around 400 people from poor nomadic families have benefited from the Herb Collection payments: the average income they received is 400 CNY each per year. The Total over the three years exceeds 480,000 CNY. By setting up a quota-based herb collection scheme, we ensured collected herbs came from the widest geographical area practical, minimising the environmental impact and offering the collection opportunities to the widest section of the nomadic community possible. Previously the collection of medical herbs has been unregulated. TTM Hospital has reached a higher level of quality. Prior to TF's project, the Hospital was poorly rated. Ranging from 3-5 (on a scale from 1 – 5: 1 being better and 5 being worst). After the TF's project, the TTM Hospital has attained the number 2 level amongst the TTM Hospitals in the prefecture and it is well known for producing a good quality of Medicine. People's View on TTM hospital at the moment. At the TTM Hospital approximately 20.000 cases are seen annually, this has considerably increased over the last six years: in 1997 their number was between 1000 and 2000, in 2001 between 6000 and 7000. The Hospital staff and TTM student who were qualified went to the rural area of the Nomads and have seen around 30,000 patients and were very helpful to the Health of the people in Sershul County. TTM Hospital has been highly praised by local government officials to the prefecture level, as well as the Health Bureau and local people. It has been the successful reputation of the SCHI that has encouraged other counties to seek the assistance of Tibet Foundation. We also intend to build upon the lessons that have been learned and the challenges we have overcome. Our emphasis will strongly be about enabling Tibetans to be educated to deliver healthcare where it is most needed, in the rural areas and amongst the nomadic people. Our next health initiative is being developed in the light of the twelve years experience that Tibet Foundation has of working inside Tibet. Tibet Foundation is also seeking to research and seek strategies to assist the prevention and control of Hydatid Disease, which is endemic in these areas. It is increasingly becoming a major public health problem. From August to October 2004, Dr Hans Anten visited Kandze Autonomous Prefecture on behalf of Aid to Tibet, to fully assess the SCHI and provide valuable training to the students and staff there. We will report on his findings in future newsletters.