Everything started in 2013 with the master thesis of a medical student about access to healthcare in Zanksar valley. During this field work over 40 interviews were conducted with the local governmental and traditional health care providers. Respectively to the local demands individual support was given, as example head torches for the midwifes and distribution of menstruation cups. As response to the high prevalence of eye disease the partnership began with the sunglass/optician company Visilab in Switzerland. By now about 1000 sunglasses could be given for free to Zanskari people.
In addition one of the conclusions of that master thesis was the lack of communication between the healthcare providers. To enable an interdisciplinary discussion and elaboration of solutions the Zanskar Health Conference was created. A 3 days conference where everybody involved or interested in healthcare could participate, speak up and where solutions for problems were discussed. It was 2014 and the first time such an event had taken place in Zanskar. This conference was enabled through sponsoring of the Swiss Mountain Medicine Society (SGGM).
Due to the success of the event and the local demand a second conference has taken place again in 2016.
Main conclusion was the urge to take action to improve access to healthcare in winter and to ameliorate women and child care in remote villages. This topic had also given the chance for a voluntary research by a global health student.
The conclusion of the Zanskar Health Conference about the winter challenges has been that a mobile primary health care and rescue unit on a all terrain vehicle that can even drive in deep snow would be the ideal solution.
As at that moment we worked on individual level we realized that for such a project an association is needed and professional project partners. We are happy that February 2017 we could fund the Zanskar Health Association as a group of friends -Zanskari and Swiss- and experts on mountain medicine, mountaineering and global health.
Our board members
- Yeshi Dorjay Hertzog, librarian and trekking guide from Zanskar
Secretary & Co-Treasurer
- Rebecca Hertzog, resident doctor in Uri, Switzerland
Co-Treasurer & Fundraising (French / English)
- Eric Germain-Bonne, osteopath from Lausanne, Switzerland
Fundraising ( German/English)
- Hannes Rupprecht, from Davos Switzerland
- Erica Saltarelli, from Davos Switzerland
Global Health expert
– Dr. med. B. Stoll, Global Health Institute University of Geneva
Responsible of the medical program
- Amalie Frandsen, resident doctor in Biel, Switzerland
- Eloïse Magnenat, resident doctor in Biel, Switzerland
Deputy from Zanskar
– Dr. Stenzin Namgyal, Block medical officer of Zanskar
Deputy of Zanskar Rescue Team
– Padma Sonam, rescue team candidate
Next to our board we have a motivated team of members.