Doctors trek to Manang for mountain medicine training

KATHMANDU: At least 20 medical doctors, mostly from Nepal, Australia, Europe and America, took part in a-month-long mountain medicine training in Nepal as the Country is all set to welcome the world mountaineers for upcoming spring climbing season.

According to Phurba Namgyal Sherpa, Instructor Coordinator from the Nepal National Mountain Guide Association, 20 doctors including six from Nepal successfully completed the Diploma in Mountain Medicine course that was offered annually by the Mountain Medicine Society of Nepal. Climbalaya Treks & Expedition Pvt Ltd had managed all field logistics for the training course, he added.

"I thought the medical part of the course was excellent, with expert teaching from both Nepali and foreign doctors" Christopher Bear, a doctor from Oceania, Australia, said after attending the training.

Christopher also thinks that the diploma in mountain medicine course is a great way for doctors from many countries to come together in Nepal - the home of the world's highest mountains - and learn from each other's experience. The diploma course is approved by the Union Internationale des Associations d’Alpinisime, International Society of Mountain Medicine and International Commission for Alpine Rescue.

Trainings were held in Kathmandu and Manang while the specific objective of the course was to produce highly qualified altitude doctors in Nepal. “The participants were extensively taught about most of the rescue techniques needed during climbing and mountaineering expeditions,” Sherpa informed.

During a 10-day-long alpine rescue course, the participants hiked to an altitude of 5,300m in Manang. “The high-altitude camps were set up above 4,400m where the doctors experimented with the altitude sickness-related symptoms for over seven days,” Sherpa said, adding, “Moving on fix line technique, glacier walking, high altitude trekking, basic ice climbing, crevasse rescue techniques were practiced at Khangla glacier in Manang.” According to him, it’s his second time working as mountain guide instructor coordinator for the mountain medicine course. Participants also attended rock craft activities for four days in Kathmandu.

The participants also shared their expertise on different issues including altitude mountain sickness, hypothermia, frostbite, high altitude pulmonary edema, and high altitude cerebral edema. According to MMSN, the main aim of this course is to train Nepali doctors along with international doctors in the home country with syllabus tailored to suit the local needs without compromising the international standards.