Health Care in Tibet /Yushu

by Surmang Foundation
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Health Care in Tibet /Yushu
Health Care in Tibet /Yushu
Health Care in Tibet /Yushu
Health Care in Tibet /Yushu
Health Care in Tibet /Yushu
Health Care in Tibet /Yushu
Health Care in Tibet /Yushu
Health Care in Tibet /Yushu
Health Care in Tibet /Yushu
Health Care in Tibet /Yushu
Health Care in Tibet /Yushu
Health Care in Tibet /Yushu
Health Care in Tibet /Yushu
Health Care in Tibet /Yushu
Health Care in Tibet /Yushu

Project Report | Sep 24, 2019
The Beat Goes On -- 23 years later

By Lee Weingrad | Director, Surmang Foundation

A mother and baby
A mother and baby

Before our clinic started its work, the maternal mortality rate at Surmang was higher than that of Sierra Leone, Africa, the place with the world’s highest maternal mortality rate. The heart of our work is the 1300 patients we have treated for free --including meds-- every month for the past 23 years, focusing on mother and child health and keeping the maternal mortality rate at zero or very close to zero.

This is how we work for the empowerment of women.

Since 2007, the last three years at Surmang have been dedicated to expanding the clinic’s capacity to serve its immediate community as well as the larger catchment. Strictly speaking this region is within a 20 km radius of the clinic. But we frequently have patients that come from as far away as Chamdo, in the Tibet Autonomous Region to the south and Sichuan Province to the East. Both these regions are strictly Khampa Tibetan regions, despite their being in different political entities. For the most part all these people more or less speak the Khampa dialect of Tibetan, a dialect that is impregnable to a Tibetan speaker from Lhasa.

 

[2007 Roof]

The infrastructure changes started in 2007, when we put a metal roof over the clinic. Tibet is known as “the land of snows,” and the accumulation of snow over the winters of the past 25 years had challenged its existence. Back then, in 2007 an engineer told us we had three choices: put up a roof, rebuild the current roof every three years or do nothing, in which case the building would collapse in 5 years. We chose “A,” put up a roof. My wife immediately contacted Chinese patrons and within two hours we raised $9000.

 

[2018 Plumbing]

Do you think it’s hard to get a plumber in Denver or San Francisco? Try getting one in Surmang!

Last year we installed a water system, connected to the monastery’s line, a system installed by the government after the locally constructed lines failed 3 times. The work was mainly designed and executed by staff member Joseph Weingrad, with assistance from a Master US plumber, Russel Iser.* That took over a month, but it worked.

The next step was to replace the tile with flat black marble and install waiting room chairs and burn the wooden benches that had served us well since 1997. The Clinic is a high-gain passive solar building, which means that it can absorb the sun’s heat during the day and disburse it to the building at night. There is no connection between the floor and earth below.

 

[2019. The beat goes on]

This year’s work was far more ambitious. It was to

  • Move the front entrance to the south and make the entrance hallway into a meds storage area.
  • Replace the flooring in the east wing with the same flat black tile as in the waiting room.
  • Create a downstairs bathroom complete with flush toilet, shower and hot running water.
  • Remove the wall separating the 2nd floor meeting dining room from the small bedroom next door, resulting in
  • Install 60 sq. m of solid oak flooring in this conjoined, expanded room.
  • Remove and replace all kitchen cabinets, sinks, gas stoves and flooring and make it a modern Formica-kitchen counter-top area. Move the stove from the kitchen to be near to the meeting/eating area as a place to gather around in cold mornings to drink tea or coffee over a warm stove. 

 

[Why the big fuss?]

We definitely have the trust and love of the people we serve, our catchment. That took a long time to accomplish in this very traditional region. I can feel it when I go there.

Now that that trust is established, we should be able to raise the clinic service level according to international hygiene and medical standards. While it’s not that difficult to do, neither is it easy. As I’ve said before, Surmang is not in the middle of nowhere, it’s on the edge of nowhere.

To that end, we’ve engaged and partnered with United Family Hospitals and Clinics in Beijing, the largest international-standards hospital group in China. They will assist us to create a further miracle in this remote, beautiful, sacred, under-served region of China.

Lee Weingrad

*name used by permission 

A mother, a baby
A mother, a baby
laying the marble tile
laying the marble tile
waiting room with new tile, new furniture
waiting room with new tile, new furniture
moving the door to the south side of the clinic
moving the door to the south side of the clinic
new bathroom
new bathroom
a visit to United Family Hospital Beijing
a visit to United Family Hospital Beijing
new roof
new roof

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Organization Information

Surmang Foundation

Location: Boulder, CO - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @surmang_found
Project Leader:
Lee Weingrad
Founder
Beijing , Beijing China

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