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The Himalayan Rescue Association Nepal has been organizing a temporary free health camp at Gosainkunda during Janaipurnima festival for the last ten years to provide health care services to the pilgrims. Gosainkunda situated at an altitude of 4,380m. is a very famous religious lake where it is believed that Lord Shiva reside to the lake to relieve his distress from swallowing the poison, and that he still rests in the calm of the divine lake. It is also believed that if one takes a \'holy dip\' in the lake during this time, s/he would share a place in the heaven by the grace of god. Thousands of pilgrims from different parts of the country visit this sacred lake during Janaipurnima to take a holy dip into the lake every year.
As Gosainkunda is located at very high altitude region and pilgrims have the tendency of ascending fast, many pilgrims are very prone to Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) and High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE). Pilgrims are not aware of the symptoms of AMS and other mountain hazards. They do not think that they are going to suffer from altitude illness; rather they feel that they have committed sin in their life that is causing sickness. With this superstitious belief, they try harder their attempt to visit Gosainkunda lake at any cost. As they do not pay attention to the symptoms of AMS (basically they ignore the symptoms) and keep going up higher, which causes them become very sick and some time may die. In this view, HRA operates a temporary health camp to the pilgrims for a free of cost at Gosainkunda during Janaipurnima festival every year.
This year in August 23rd 2007, a 7 member medical team left to Dhunche and arrived in Gosainkunda on 26th August and started working from the same day until 28th August, 2007.
The HRA health camp provided medical facilities to about 526 patients this year. Among them, 15 patients were seriously ill and helped them to bring down to lower altitude. Besides altitude illness (AMS, HACE, HAPE) cases, other medical problems were also found such as Hypothermia, Diarrhoea, Dysentry, Injury, Cuts, Conjunctivitis, Muscular Pain, Common Cold, Gastritis etc.
HRA not only treating the patients but also disseminating the information about altitude sickness by distributing the brochures written about Gosainkunda and AMS to the pilgrims so as to make them fully aware about the problems at high altitude.
Likewise, HRA organized a talk programme for the people of Bhaktapur and Madhyapur Thimi on August 20, 2007 to provide them information about altitude sickness and Gosainkunda trek. Mr. Gobinda Bashyal and Dr. Matiram Pun gave a slide presentation to the participants in both places and 50 people from Bhaktapur Municipality and 45 from Madhyapur Thimi Municipality participated in the programme. This programme was coordinated by Mr. Kumar Ranabhat, Vice Chairman, HRA.
It is also worth mentioning that HRA organized a press meet on 21st August, 2007 before the medical team departed to Gosainkunda. Total of 16 different journalists were presented at the press meet including National TV, Radio, F. M., National Daily News Papers etc. HRA Gosainkunda brochure and Press release about Gosainkunda was handed over to the journalists.