During seven winter months the valley is disconnected by road due to heavy snowfall and the temperatures drop down to - 40°C. To manage emergency cases is a big challenge in winter due to difficult and long way of access through snow and cold to the patient home, lack of training and equipment for emergency situation on the allopathic and traditional medicine side. Frequently reported health problems in winter are: exacerbation of osteo-articular pain and obstructive respiratory disease, teeth problems, diffuse oedema, pregnancy and delivery issues.
Another aspect of insufficient patient care has been the absence on duty of allopathic medical staff that migrates to warmer regions in wintertime. People rely in winter season more on the traditional Tibetan medicine practitioner who is based at village level. On the infrastructure side lack of communication means made the alert for medical help difficult. The organisation of further transport in cases of serious health threats is challenging since the roads are closed in winter and due to administrative reasons helicopter transfer to a higher centre takes three days.
About 50 health care providers and other actors in health sector could talk during the 2nd Zanskar Health Conference one full day about winter health problems.
The main conclusion was that there is acute need for a mobile winter rescue team to enable home based care and safe patient transport to hospital in Padum (the only hospital in Zanskar), especially when all the roads are blocked by snow.
During this conference 6 trustful, strong and motivated Zanskari people spoke out their motivation to become the first Zanskar Rescue Team.
Now we are building up this project so that we can conduct the training of the rescue team in January/February 2018.
Informations are here to come.